Head of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Nigerian-born lawyer Enoh Ebong was among 17 senior U.S. officials who were in Marrakech from July 17-20 2022, on the sidelines of the USA-Africa business meeting. Established in 1992, the USTDA promotes growth in developing countries, while creating American jobs through exports.
What conclusions can we draw from this USA-Africa business meeting?
The USTDA is a US government agency with a unique dual mission. We are a foreign aid agency that develops high quality sustainable infrastructure in emerging economies overseas. At the same time, we have a mandate to support American jobs by exporting American goods and services to the infrastructure projects we help develop. At the Marrakech summit, we noted a clear desire to work together on both sides. We noted very strong points of convergence between the American agencies and institutions present, including the USTDA, Export-Import Bank, Department of Commerce, Development Finance Corporation, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and USAID and their African counterparts. We are all focused on the result, that is to say the mobilization of funds for the financing of infrastructure and inclusive and resilient growth in Africa.
There has been constant talk of food security financing the processing of agricultural products at the local level. What is the American approach or solution?
Indeed, it is a shared concern. Our agency is more oriented towards financing infrastructure, including agricultural infrastructure essential for food security and agricultural transformation. We are currently collaborating with Côte d’Ivoire to increase the capacity of the port of Abidjan in the processing of the reception of bulk and cereals intended for the national and regional market.
AGOA was signed in 2002 and is expected to expire in 2025. What is next?
Our agency is not directly involved in the negotiations around AGOA. So I don’t want to talk about it. Discussions are ongoing–