Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Coming to America: 2014 American-African Summit

A wise man once stated: Better late than never.

African countries, with 6 out the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, has finally come on the American radar.

But, late to the party, USA has to play catch-up to China, Russian, India, Japan, Brazil and the European Union.

For example, trade between China and Africa totals 200 billion dollars (double US/African trade) annually and is growing.  China-African summits have a history dating back 14 years to the year 2000.

Many believe America is late to the party because of our misguided focus on crisis over opportunity in Africa. In other words, US reporting on Africa is very lazy and miss-informing: reporting only on war, disease and faming, thereby, missing, arguably, the biggest story of our lifetime -- Africa on the rise.

The new American-African business model.

The new dynamic requires a new type of partnership -- more than big daddy donor to poor sick patient. The new relationship will be structured on mutual business opportunities for both continents. Africa, with a population over one billion and growing middle-class, represents a golden opportunity for American investors.

As CNN reports:

U.S. business shouldn't miss 'the next China'

CNN) -- Washington's relentless focus on crisis tends to cloud its ability to see great opportunities.

With more than 40 African heads of state coming to Washington this week for three days of meetings with President Barack Obama, Cabinet officials, members of Congress and American business leaders, the United States has a real opportunity to jump-start what has been a slow evolution in the way we have engaged with Africa.
It's an opportunity that should not be missed.
This will be the United States' first African heads-of-state summit, which puts us well behind our global competitors. China, which surpassed the United States as Africa's largest trading partner five years ago, has held five summits with African heads of state since 2000
For the United States to continue competing, our relationship with African governments and businesses must evolve to include more meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships. The summit's business forum on Tuesday will put American CEOs at the table with African heads of state and business leaders. This is matchmaking, with an eye on increasing U.S. exports to Africa's rapidly growing middle-class consumer base.


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