Washington — The planned opening of new U.S. trade offices in four African countries demonstrates the U.S. commitment to supporting Africa's developing economies, a top U.S. trade official says.
"As a new member of the Department of Commerce team, I'm very excited to be a part of this major expansion," U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Arun Kumar said in an April 28 Commerce Department blog post.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the expansion of trade offices on April 17. She said that, in 2014, the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration will open offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State. These four new offices, in addition to one to be opened in Burma, will bring the knowledge and experience of U.S. trade specialists into some of the world's most rapidly developing economies.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world, Kumar pointed out in his blog post, adding that the International Monetary Fund predicts continued growth throughout the continent, as part of a broad continental economic transformation.
"Our new offices will support White House initiatives like Trade Africa and Power Africa, which have spearheaded a larger campaign to bolster development throughout the continent," Kumar said.
Trade Africa is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, launched by President Obama in July 2013, that seeks to increase internal and regional trade within Africa and expand trade and economic ties between Africa, the United States and other global markets. Power Africa is an initiative President Obama announced in June 2013 that aims to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.
"As U.S. companies look to ship goods to Africa, help increase electrical capacity, or help improve transportation networks, they will receive unparalleled assistance and expertise from our staff," Kumar said. "With our new offices on the continent, we will be able to find partners for American companies, help navigate regulatory hurdles, and support the development that will make Africa thrive."
As this expansion takes place, Kumar said, "these markets are where we will truly see the mutual benefits of trade." U.S. companies "will bring the infrastructure and ideas that improve quality of life for citizens and they will support the partnerships that spur innovation among local businesses," he said.
The expansion announcement "is just the start," Kumar said, adding, "I'm very excited to see how this expansion will help support existing partnerships, create new opportunities, and bring about the kind of development that is only possible through global trade."