US eyes active trade role in Africa

Post date: Jun 24, 2013 9:54:32 PM

The private sector in the US wanted the world’s biggest economy to play a more active role in trade and investment partnerships in Africa, the deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, said on Friday.

Speaking during a teleconference ahead of US President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, Rhodes said Obama would hold events that would incorporate the private sector in all the countries he was to visit. This will be Obama’s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa and Rhodes said a number of Obama’s economic team’s key members would be present to engage on the issues brought up by the private sector.

He said the US saw growing economic opportunities in the continent for increased trade and investment.

“So trade and investment and the economic opportunities on the continent are going to be an important part of the agenda; also democracy and democratic institution-building,” Rhodes said.

Obama would speak about the key pillars of the US’ developmental agenda, which was focused on economic growth as well as issues like food security and global health, he added.

There will also be a lot of focus on the youth. Rhodes said the US would communicate its commitment to investing in the future of the African youth.

On his second day of the trip, Obama will fly to South Africa from Senegal. He will start a bilateral meeting with President Jacob Zuma the following day where he will talk, among other things, about some of the US’ significant development priorities for the continent. – Londiwe Buthelezi