February 21, 2016, Charlotte, NC USA
“The Carolinas can be a leading region in US – Africa trade within 10 years. Our strategic target is one trillion in combined trade and investment in this timeframe,” says Lauri Elliott, Executive Director of The Afribiz Foundation,” but it’s going to take strategic and structured interventions to do this.” In 2014, combined trade (imports and exports) of goods and services was over $5 trillion. Combined trade of goods alone was over $4 trillion. Trade of goods alone between the United States and Africa was only $72 billion, representing less than 2% of the United States trade in goods.
In the Carolinas, the picture is no better. Of the $62 billion of exports from the Carolinas in 2014, Africa does not show significantly. ”It does not make sense that US trade and investment activity in Africa is not greater. Africa as a whole has a projected growth of 4.25% in 2016. It has 54 countries with diverse opportunities; Africa has over a billion people – a population that will surpass China in 2025. And even over a decade of stellar growth it still has severe supply constraints for significant demand in even basics goods and services. Think about the opportunities as the middle class continues to grow and the demand diversifies greatly,” says Elliott.
The key to unlocking this market for the US is in the development path of the Continent. The US government has taken this approach with the energy sector in the Power Africa initiative, however, there needs to be a holistic, but strategic approach to doing this. The Carolinas are diverse economies with the developmental resources and expertise to assist Africa in this regard, but it should be a mutually beneficial opportunity for the Carolinas.
The Charlotte Africa Growth Cluster is a synergy of resources, both tangible and intangible, in the Carolinas and Africa to develop and implement mutually beneficial economic, investment, and business opportunities. “For this to work, you need a structure and methodology that will guide the strategic objective. This has been lacking for a long time, but we have now developed the mechanisms and structures to do so. We look forward to seeing this grow,” Nwakego Eyisi, Director, Africa Region for The Afribiz Foundation.
Participate in Charlotte Africa Business Week 2016 that will kick off the Charlotte Africa Growth Cluster.
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About The Afribiz Foundation
The Afribiz Foundation (TAF) serves as a lead catalyst of people-centric economic ecosystems. It is a member of the Afribiz family of entities, which represent an ecosystem economy, including Afribiz Group, Afribiz Ventures, Afribiz Trust, Afribiz Accelerators, Afribiz Trading, and Afribiz Intellimedia. Working as a holistic entity, Afribiz “creates new worlds of economic opportunities.”