Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
To Members of the PAC-DBIA and Minister of Trade & Industry Alan Kyerematen
MS Teams Call | Wednesday, June 2, 2021 |
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Honorable Minister of Trade & Industry
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Middle East and Africa Camille Richardson;
Members of the President’s Advisory Council on
Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA);
Ghana Exim CEO Lawrence Agyinsam;
Embassy and other government colleagues:
Good afternoon. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe as we begin to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, with vaccinations helping us to envision a return to normal, with more in-person meetings and events and travel.
I’m delighted to participate in this virtual roundtable with you today.
The PAC-DBIA was created in August 2014 when President Obama directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish the Council to connect U.S. businesses with African partners, support existing and new U.S. investment in Africa, expand access for U.S. businesses to finance their exports to Africa, and reduce barriers to trade and investment in Africa.
In short, PAC-DBIA was born to support the U.S.-Africa trade relationship and to develop and nurture ways to invest in Africa’s growth.
PAC-DBIA members accompanied then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to Ghana in 2018 as part of a fact-finding trip that also included visits to Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
The goal of the trip across Africa was to help PAC-DBIA members complete their mandate of providing recommendations to the U.S. president on how to mitigate obstacles faced by U.S. companies seeking to enter or expand into African markets; advance commercial deals and address non-tariff barriers to U.S. trade and investment; and advance broader U.S. strategic goals in Africa. In fact, while serving in Washington, I attended the meeting at which the PAC-DBIA members reported on their trip.
During that visit to Ghana, the United States and Ghana signed the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Development and Implementation of Strategic Energy, Transportation and Other Priority Projects in Ghana to increase trade and investment between our two countries.
Today’s roundtable offers the opportunity for PAC-DBIA members to discuss and evaluate progress made on the goals of the MOU; learn how the pandemic has affected the MOU; and learn about priority and strategic projects in Ghana in which U.S. companies may participate by providing products or services, or as investors.
In the two and half years since I’ve been the U.S. ambassador to Ghana, one of my top goals has been to increase trade and investment between the United States and Ghana. My embassy team works every day toward that goal.
In fact, the Embassy Deal Team is working with Ghanaian partners on a number of projects, including the rehabilitation of the water treatment plant and dam at the Weija Dam and the Begoro Municipality water project; a poultry-processing plant in Kumasi; feasibility studies for mini grids in the Afram Plains South region and for an aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility at Kotoka International Airport; and construction of a data storage center, among others.
Over 120 U.S. firms are operating in Ghana. From the development and exploration of major oil fields by Kosmos Energy to the transformation of healthcare delivery by Zipline,
which transports lifesaving medical products and vaccines to remote areas by drone – companies are finding success in Ghana and contributing to prosperity in both countries. American innovators are eager to partner with Ghanaian entrepreneurs across a wide spectrum of industries.
And recently, several iconic American brands have either established their presence in Ghana, such as Domino’s Pizza, Orkin Pest Control and United Airlines; or announced their intention to do so, as Twitter did in April. In fact, Twitter mentioned that one of the reasons it selected Ghana for its West Africa headquarters is Ghana’s role as host of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat. I’m sure more U.S. companies will follow. As Ghana realizes its aspiration of being the gateway to Africa, first coined, I believe, during the visit of then-President Bill Clinton in March 1998, during my earlier assignment here, my team and I look forward to supporting U.S. businesses.
As we emerge from the tunnel of masked meetings and postponed events and the world economy revs back up, it’s exciting to think about the enormous potential for increased trade and investment between the United States and Ghana and the next steps for continuing our mutual efforts under the MOU.
I look forward to a lively and informative roundtable discussion.