Good morning! Thank you to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa, along with the U.S. Department of Commerce team, for their work to organize today’s events.
To the honorable heads of state, ministers from across the African continent, welcome. I am deeply honored to have you here at the 2022 U.S.-Africa Business Forum. I also want to welcome industry leaders from the U.S. and Africa. Your participation demonstrates the immense economic potential of the U.S.-Africa partnership.
More than ever, I believe the U.S.-Africa partnership will be shaped by commercial ties between our businesses on both sides of the continent, including our women, next generation, and Diaspora entrepreneurs. Commercial relationships will drive the technology cooperation, innovation, and small business growth that are already transforming the lives of Africans – from health to agriculture, from energy to transport, from fintech to creative industries. And they will lead to quality jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
I often hear from our African partners that they view the U.S. private sector as a partner of choice because of its superior technology, high quality equipment and services, track record of developing local talent and promoting innovation, and its ability to access transparent financing and the world’s largest venture ecosystem.
U.S. businesses tell me they see unprecedented opportunities on the continent, as our African partners take bold steps to improve the business environment, including through the African Continental Free Trade Area; accelerate digital transformation and the energy transition; and promote health security. I believe we are at a tipping point in our commercial relationship.
And that’s why President Biden has taken unprecedented steps to ramp up U.S. government engagement with American business in support of Africa’s transformation. At the Commerce Department, we are raising our game to grow U.S. business engagement in Africa. We are enhancing technical cooperation to strengthen the commercial enabling environment in partner countries; elevating bilateral MOUs, trade missions, and commercial advocacy; and working with our colleagues across the government to de-risk private investment in key sectors. We also aim to expand the footprint of our commercial service on the continent. And I plan to travel to Africa in 2023, joined by leading American companies and investors.
There is immense potential for what we can do together. The next generation of Africans and Americans deserve nothing less. That is why I am excited about today’s panel discussions, where we’ll hear directly from business and government on key areas of collaboration. And I’m thrilled about the deals that we’ll announce on the main stage and the Prosper Africa Deal Room.
Thank you all once again for being here today. With that, let me turn it over to my friend, the Honorable Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chair of the African Union, for his opening remarks.