Trade and Investment Engagement

  • USAID’s Strategy, “Building Trade Capacity in the Developing World” outlines the Agency's approach to integrating developing countries into the international trading system.

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  • The first-ever Trade Africa Annual Report is now live. See our progress over the past year.

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Mutukula OSBP PhotoStory
Mutukula One-Stop Border Point
Financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa
Financial Inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa
Sseko Designs, Uganda: An AGOA Success Story
Sseko Designs, Uganda: An AGOA Success Story

For both the United States and Africa, trade generates new export markets for goods and services, allows for new job opportunities for unemployed and disaffected youth, and improves the overall business environment, making conditions more appealing for private investment. USAID has unique tools to promote and facilitate U.S. economic interests in Africa. As there are many untapped opportunities for U.S. companies in Africa, continuing to develop and strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and Africa is critical. This engagement not only increases U.S. companies’ access to African markets, but also Africa’s access to the U.S. and global economies. Our work encourages reciprocity with our trading partners, and expands our agricultural and services industry exports by building the markets of tomorrow for U.S. goods and services. 

Studies show that the African market of tomorrow will be vast. Africa’s population is expected to more than double to 2.9 billion in 2060 (from 1.2 billion in 2015), and Africa’s middle class population is expected to grow to 1.1 billion by 2060, up from 350 million in 2010. The middle class contributes to increased consumer spending which is expected to expand from $1.3 trillion in 2010 to $2.2 trillion in 2030. The United States has institutions and mechanisms that can encourage U.S. companies to trade with and invest in Africa, bringing our unique technologies and knowledge to bear across the continent.

For more than 15 years, Africa has benefited from significant market access to the United States for qualifying countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It has expanded African exports and opened the door for increased investment from U.S. companies. USAID is a key partner supporting African governments and the private sector to take advantage of AGOA for both strategic and developmental impact. 

Regional transit and horticulture in Africa

Trade and Investment in Africa: A Regional Focus
We support Africa’s regional integration agenda by supporting the adoption and implementation of regional and international protocols in trade. This includes aligning our work with that of the Regional Economic Communities of the East African Community, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community, the Economic Community of West African States, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. We also support the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements in trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and technical barriers to trade.

By focusing on international agreements, we support:

1) Implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement  by working to reduce red tape and unnecessary formalities at border crossings. This streamlines border transit processes and further enhances regional efforts to reduce average container transit times;

2) Enhancing food safety, plant and animal health by engaging U.S. technological expertise to help East African Community partners meet international safety and quality standards related to food safety and animal and plant health standards. By fully implementing the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, African countries can increase food security and increase opportunities to export regional food products; and

3) Building capacity in the region to meet Global Trade Standards. Trade standards, regulations, testing and certification are part of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. The U.S. works closely with governments to provide targeted training in this area, and to ensure that harmonized international standards are fully adopted by each country.

Almeda Textiles Ethiopia

USAID Trade and Investment Hubs
USAID maintains three Trade and Investment Hubs in sub-Saharan Africa that provide extensive support to deepen the U.S.-Africa economic and commercial relationship - the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub in Nairobi, Kenya; the Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub in Pretoria, South Africa; and the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub in Accra, Ghana. The Hubs work to boost trade and investment with and within each region. The goal of each Hub is to deepen regional integration, increase the competitiveness of select regional agriculture value chains, promote two-way trade with the United States under AGOA, and facilitate investment and technology that drives trade growth intra-regionally and globally.

Opening statement by USTR Ambassador Lighthizer at 2017 AGOA Forum  August 9, 2017, Lomé, Togo