Resources – Doing Business in Africa

President Obama believes that Sub-Saharan Africa can be the world’s next major economic success story that offers enormous opportunities for American businesses. The Administration’s government-wide strategy includes a multitude of resources across federal agencies to help U.S. companies identify and seize those opportunities.

Trade and Investment Assistance

U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA) | www.export.gov/Africa

  • ITA’s expanded trade promotion programs toward Africa include targeted trade missions, trade shows and buyer programs to facilitate networking between U.S. and African business and government leaders.
  • Highly trained U.S. Commercial Service trade specialists will provide export counseling and other relevant information to U.S. businesses on specific challenges and opportunities in Africa.
  • ITA’s Advocacy Center serves to level the playing field on behalf of U.S. companies competing for international government contracts, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In 2013, ITA will host a series of Africa Global Business Summits, where U.S. Ambassadors and Senior Commercial Officers will provide insight and discuss regional opportunities.

U.S. Department of State | www.state.gov/e/eb/cba/ or www.state.gov/p/af

  • The Department of State plays a major role in coordinating trade and investment matters in support of U.S. firms doing business overseas, including in sub-Saharan Africa where it is the sole provider of commercial services in 45 of 49 countries.
  • Through Commercial Diplomacy, State works with U.S. government partners and U.S. embassies to advocate on behalf of American businesses and can provide assistance in opening markets, leveling the playing field, protecting intellectual property and resolving trade and investment disputes.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) | www.mbda.gov

  • Focused on small- and medium-sized minority-owned businesses, the staff at MBDA Business Centers nationwide identify export markets, facilitate global transactions, conduct international business-to-business meetings, perform market analysis and provide overseas market promotion assistance.

Millennium Challenge Corporation | www.mcc.gov/pages/business

  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation lists procurement solicitations for goods, works and services to be awarded and administered by accountable entities from countries with signed Compacts.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) | www.opic.gov

  • As the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, OPIC helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets. It provides investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

Export Financing Assistance

U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) | www.exim.gov/about/whatwedo/markets/africa/

  • The Ex-Im Bank’s South African Renewable Initiative helps companies access $2 billion in financing for U.S. energy-sector technologies, products and services.
  • More generally, Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees, export credit insurance and loan guarantees and direct loans.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) | www.ustda.gov/program/regions/subsaharanafrica/

  • USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects and reverse trade missions.

Small Business Administration (SBA) | www.sba.gov/exporting

  • SBA offers a simple export-import loan product that allows participating lenders to use their own forms, procedures and analyses.

Minority Business Development Agency | www.mbda.gov/node/1742

  • MBDA and Ex-Im Bank have formed a Global Outreach Alliance to increase capital access for minority-owned firms and encourage their participation in international commerce.

U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative

  • The U.S. State Department, OPIC, and USTDA developed a $20 million collaborative financing mechanism for U.S. businesses and exporters involved in Sub-Saharan Africa’s clean energy sector.

U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Development and Finance Center, Johannesburg, South Africa

  • Led by USTDA, OPIC, and the Ex-Im Bank, the Center helps businesses identify and access U.S. government support for clean energy export and investment needs.