African nations benefit from billions of dollars in deals with US

The United States has struck dozens of deals worth $5.7 billion with African nations since President Joe Biden pledged to go “all in” on the continent, a business gathering in Botswana heard Wednesday 12 July 2023.

The 75 new agreements signed since December include financing for solar projects in Angola and the facilitation of export financing in Tanzania, Washington said in a statement released at a US-Africa business summit held in the Botswana capital Gaborone.

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African leaders attended the summit

“The United States, through a whole of government effort, is beginning to deliver on our commitments,” Scott Nathan, head of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a government agency, said on the sidelines of the conference.

The announcement comes as Washington seeks to deepen engagement with Africa, where China and Russia have enjoyed rising clout. Several African presidents, including Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as hundreds of business and political figures, attended the summit, which aims at bolstering trade and investment with the continent.

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Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi expressed “earnest hope” that Washington would renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA — a major trade pact offering duty-free access into the world’s largest economy for sub-Saharan African countries that meet democratic criteria.

Masisi said extending the deal, which is currently set to expire in 2025, with little plan yet for any successor, would be “in consonance with the letter and spirit” of a US-Africa leaders’ summit held late last year.

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Africa’s industrialisation?

“The AGOA renewal now, with expanded mandates, will give a strong signal and confidence to the markets and serve as a catalyst for Africa’s industrialisation,” he told the gathering.

At the December summit in Washington, the first of its kind held since 2014, Biden threw his support behind a larger African role in the world. The United States “is all in on Africa and all in with Africa,” he vowed.

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The United States also laid out $55 billion in projects over the next three years, including green energy, training for health workers and modernisation of internet networks, with the private sector also pledging $15 billion led by investment in technology.

© Agence France-Presse

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