The theme for this year’s Summit was ‘The US Stake in Africa: A call for greater economic engagement’. The essence of the summit was to highlight US-Africa Business Engagement andto raise the profile of business opportunities in Africa for the American Private Sector. The forum was the first opportunity for African Heads of State, Ministers of Government and CEOs of companies to engage with the new administration of President Trump and US Government officials.
The Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery of the Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC, Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, stated that in the wake of a new leadership in America, this year’s summit came at the right time, particularly with the cloud surrounding certain bilateral trade agreements earlier signed by the erstwhile US Government, whichis now faced with the uncertainty of continuity by the new Government based on their own perceptions and strategic intrests.
The CCA, she maintained, is a perfect conduit for Africa that will provide an opportunity for the continent to be heard in the public as well as private sectors in the United States of America. The CCA, the Minister Counsellor underscored, will be very helpful in discussing with African states with a view to facilitating a stronger US-Africa investment and business relationship for the mutual benefit of the two continents and its trade partners/companies in Africa.
Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, furthered that Africa is believed to be the future destination of commerce with huge potential in raw materials, which will be beneficial to the United States, and will provide opportunities for the US companies doing business in Africa.
According to Mrs. Sillah, some of the plenary topics discussed included; the new US administration’s engagement in Africa despite the decrease in Africa’s growth - it is still a viable place to do business; how ICT will transform business in Africa through data collection; Africa’s role in the global supply chain and Tourism-upgrading the African travel experience, among other issues.
In another related engagement, The Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, participated in the Mid Term Review Meeting (18th July, 2017) in Washington DC in preparation for 2017 (AGOA) Forum to be held in Lome Togo from 8-10 August, 2017.
Sierra Leoneshe said, as a member of AGOA beneficiary countries, stands to benefit from the engagement if a national strategy is developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to increase access to American markets. She further stated that Sierra Leone has to do a complete mapping of what it requires to effectively export commodities to the US. ‘We have to do more in building knowledge of rules and standards; developing market intelligence about the US market; identifying niches; and developing domestic infrastructure and promoting trade facilitation; among others, she added.
‘Ebola is over and the country is again ready for business. Image change is needed to positively attract investors to our country’, she concluded.