U.S. Businesses Convene for Agoa Private Sector Forum on June 5

2 June 2006
press release

Washington, DC — The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) announced today that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, will open the 2006 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Private Sector Forum on June 5, 2006 in Washington, D.C.   Ambassador Karan K. Bhatia, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, will also provide remarks at the opening plenary on Monday morning at the Hilton Washington hotel.

Another highlight of this year's AGOA Private Sector Forum is a luncheon featuring the Ministers of Trade from the 37 countries eligible under AGOA. During the luncheon a panel of experts, including the South African minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Mandisi Mpahlwa, will address how African countries can increase their competitiveness in the U.S. market.  The keynote remarks will be provided by the Honorable Alan Kyerematen, Chairman of the African AGOA Group of Nations, and Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector and Presidential Special Initiatives from the Republic of Ghana.

"Our agenda this year, is simple and clear: Let's get the practical questions and central policy issues on the table. How can we increase U.S. investment in and trade with Africa?  And how can African countries remain or become globally competitive?" Stephen Hayes, President of CCA stated.

Hayes said panelists will address critical questions and propose solutions to increase trade and investment partnerships between U.S. and African companies.

"This year's program has been designed to allow dialogue between the American private sector and government representatives on AGOA," Hayes concluded.

A series of workshops late Monday morning will explore sector-specific challenges and opportunities. The decrease in African exports in the apparel and textile sector will be addressed in the textile and apparel workshop, while the agriculture workshop will examine opportunities and obstacles to trade in agricultural products, including cotton and cocoa.  Another workshop will examine how South Africa's business environment has contributed to the country's successes under AGOA.

On Monday afternoon, plenary sessions will be devoted to key issues in Africa's economic development around financing and infrastructure.  A closing reception will celebrate the relaunch of CCA's publication dedicated to raising Africa's profile in the U.S., The Africa Journal.  A special edition of The Africa Journal: The AGOA Private Sector Report will be released and presented to African government representatives at the reception.

The 2006 AGOA Private Sector Forum is being organized in partnership and with the sponsorship of Boeing, The Africa Institute-American Jewish Committee, Chevron, Mars, Inc., and the World Cocoa Foundation.

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501(3)(c) membership organization of nearly 200 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. Visit CCA's website at www.africacncl.org.

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