Council to help US compete in SA

2012-12-11 07:57

Washington - A leading US business group on Monday said it was creating a new body called the US-South Africa Business Council as part of a broader effort to respond to increased competition throughout Africa from China, Europe and others.

"We need to elevate the business community's game in the continent. We have American investment there, but we have fallen behind frankly in the last 10 years," Myron Brilliant, senior vice president at the US Chamber of Commerce, said.

The initiative is the latest US effort to make up lost ground in Africa, which this year is home to many of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the continent in August and acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank just returned from a trip to South Africa and Kenya.

It also comes at a time when South Africa continues to struggle with high employment and widespread poverty, two decades after the end of the apartheid era that lifted people's hope for a better life.

"The goal of both countries is create jobs, among other things. Jobs and economic growth," US Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats said. "We really see this (new council) as part of a two-way win-win process where we can strengthen trade ties and investment."

US companies that invest in the South Africa, the biggest economy on the continent, will be in a better position to compete throughout Africa, Hormats said.

Charter members of the US-South Africa Council include US beverage giant Coca-Cola, engineering and construction firm Black & Veatch and drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co, as well as smaller firms such as Solar Reserve, a solar energy project development company.

US companies see business opportunities in sectors such as mining, finance, communications, energy, transportation and infrastructure development, said Scott Eisner, vice president for African affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce.

"There has been in shift in thinking in corporate America towards Africa. The Chinese owned the better part of the last decade when it came to investment there" and got the attention of US corporate and government leaders, Eisner said.

The US business community will use the new council as a vehicle to get into other emerging markets in Africa, such as Mozambique with its plentiful natural gas resources and Botswana with its huge coal reserves, he said.  

  • chiepner - 2012-12-11 08:15

    No need for complicated crap like that. The US of A should just learn to BRIBE the right ministers and politicians. I mean it really not that difficult to identify them. One does not even need intelegence gathering to complete a portfolio of who accepts and who does not. In fact a good start would be for the USA to become a member of the ANC. In that way you can actually get invited to ANC HQ and rub shoulders with lower ranking corrupt officials. I mean just getting your foot in the door is half the work done right and then if that doesnt work contributing to the upgrading of compounds and residences such as Nkandla will assure you some much needed help in aquiring massive projects. Then if you really want the big contracts why not directly support our President by assiting him financially where ever and when ever you can. In that manner you can load your profit margin by 300% and still make double that back of what it would cost you to keep him happy. Common America its not that difficult to figure out I mean really!

  • - 2012-12-11 10:11

    Morning Clintzzz, so pleased you got that off your chest. In the 80's the USA Trade Mission just folded their tent and moved out in disgust. So now they have cottonede on that there is business to be done, investments to be made and of course the ensuing problems arising to be sorted. For example, after Heinz made a very strategic investment in farming and food in Zimbabwe, did they get the investment back?

  • ike.jakson - 2012-12-11 11:03

    As usual America acts in self-interest; this time it is much too little and far too late. I vote for China.

  • byron.price.921 - 2012-12-11 12:35

    Surely should read high UNemployment.??? The US will find it exremely difficult to compete against Asia and China. They are just too arrogant. I have first hand experience of this.

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