South African bank highlights importance of US-Africa business summit

10th July 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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South Africa’s Standard Bank (not to be confused with the now-unrelated UK-based Standard Chartered Bank) has highlighted the importance of the US-Africa Business Summit, which will run from Tuesday (July 11) to Friday this week. The summit will take place in Botswana, and is expected to involve some 1 000 participants from across Africa and the US, including representatives of the public and private sectors, including senior government officials, Cabinet Ministers (including from the US) and African Heads of State.

“There is immense potential for stronger ties and greater mutual benefit between the world’s biggest economy and Africa,” stresses Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala. “Achieving this will require greater levels of collaboration, access and participation, which is precisely why this summit will be so valuable.”

The World Bank has pointed out that increasing their involvement in international trade is essential to accelerating the growth and development of African economies. Although, over the past decade, African products and services exports have grown at their fastest rate, the continent still accounts for just 3% of global trade.

“African countries will benefit from expanding and diversifying their participation in international trade and global value chains,” he points out. “Achieving Africa’s development goals will require increasing Africa’s share of global trade.”

Thus, the theme for this year’s summit is “Enhancing Africa’s Value in Global Value Chains”.

At the December 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum, US President Joe Biden announced two-way trade and investment deals, partnerships and commitments with a total value of more than $15-billion. These covered essential areas such as agribusiness, digital connectivity, finance, health, infrastructure and sustainable energy. These took the total value of such undertakings between the US and Africa to more than $18-billion since 2021. US private sector investments in Africa since 2021 have totalled $8.6-billion.

The US has also expressed its support for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The World Bank has reported that the AfCFTA has, if properly implemented, the potential to lift 30-million Africans out of severe poverty, and raise the incomes of nearly 68-million more people, currently living on less than $5.50/day.

“Standard Bank is optimistic about the success of the African single market [AfCFTA], especially if the private sector and government continue to work together to lower both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade,” affirms Tshabalala. “Together we can play a greater role in supporting the long-term development of African economies.”   

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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