Energy business development group from U.S. to visit West Africa

West Africa-map25 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Washington — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will lead an energy business development mission to West Africa May 18-23, with stops in Ghana and Nigeria.

The mission will aim to help the Africa region develop and manage its energy resources and systems, as well as build out power generation, transmission and distribution, according to the Commerce Department January 22 news release that carried Pritzker’s announcement. The mission will also promote U.S. exports to Africa by helping U.S. companies launch or increase business in West Africa’s energy sector.

The mission will make stops in Accra, Ghana, and Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.

“In line with President Obama’s U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, this mission is an opportunity to connect U.S. company products, services and expertise to support Africa’s enormous power potential,” Pritzker said.

“One of the Commerce Department’s bottom-line goals is to increase the global fluency of U.S. businesses and make trade and investment a bigger part of the U.S. economy’s DNA. Trade missions like these are one way of accomplishing these priorities,” she said.

Africa Headed For Economic Success

President Obama approved the Presidential Policy Directive on Sub-Saharan Africa on June 14, 2012, and it has become known as the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The strategy states that Africa holds the promise to be “the world’s next major economic success story,” and this is the first time that promoting U.S. trade and investment has been a cornerstone of a presidential policy directive on sub-Saharan Africa, the Commerce Department said.

With more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, the power development challenge is enormous, the department said. More than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, including more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas. According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa needs more than $300 billion in investments to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 — far beyond the capacity of any traditional development program, the release said.

Representatives of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation will be invited to participate to provide information and counseling regarding their suite of programs and services in sub-Saharan Africa. This collaborative interagency approach, the Commerce Department said, highlights the Doing Business in Africa campaign, which aims to harness U.S. federal trade promotion and financing capabilities to help the U.S. private sector identify and seize trade and investment opportunities.
*State Department

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