Africa’s population is growing by leaps and bounds. Some 60 percent of Africans are under 25 years old, and a decade from now there will be about 320 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 24. And most of them will need jobs. By some estimates, Africa will need 18 million new jobs per year for the next 20 years.
This is where Prosper Africa comes in - a U.S. Government initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. For the first time, Prosper Africa has brought together the full range of U.S. Government resources - across 17 participating agencies - connecting U.S. and African companies with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities. USAID is playing a key role in advancing the Initiative’s goals.
We interviewed USAID Acting Assistant Administrator for Africa, Chris Maloney, who noted that, in support of Prosper Africa, USAID has helped close deals totaling nearly $900 million dollars in new exports and investments.
“It’s all part of our Journey to Self-Reliance, a key goal of USAID’s development effort that foresees a time when foreign assistance is no longer necessary,” he said.
In support of Prosper Africa, USAID hosts an interagency Secretariat that coordinates deal facilitation across participating agencies and is also launching an online digital resource center, or one-stop shop, for interested U.S. and African businesses and investors.
“[We’ve] created a coordinated one-stop shop so that both African and U.S. investors have a simple one-stop shop to go to to help figure out, hey, I have this idea, I have this investment opportunity, how can you help me make it happen?”
The U.S. Government has also established interagency Prosper Africa Teams at U.S. embassies across the continent. USAID plays a key role on these teams, contributing to a whole-of-government support package that is helping U.S. and African businesses and investors identify and close deals.
"Deal teams can help unpack the mystery of operating in a given country."
To further advance Prosper Africa, USAID is developing a new continent-wide trade and investment program that will provide customized services including business consulting, transaction facilitation, and targeted policy interventions. For every $1 of public investment, the program is expected to generate more than $9 in private investment.
USAID also aims to close over $1 billion dollars in two-way investment commitments by U.S. and African institutional investors in the next six to nine months.
“We're very hopeful that we'll be able to really spur more trade between Africa and the United States.”