Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit recently. The Summit was healed virtually with more than 1200 participants in attendance.
The summit consisted of 12 panel sessions focusing on a range of issues, including health and vaccine access, trade, digital transformation, infrastructure, financing, SMEs, tourism, women’s leadership, and investment opportunities in various African countries.
The Summit also hosted 5 separate sessions focused on health which addressed the COVID 19 pandemic and recovering from its economic impact. Building on CCA’s ongoing U.S.-Africa Health Security and Resilience Initiative, which includes a pillar on disease management and response, a high-level Summit plenary session focused on equitable COVID vaccine access and distribution. During that session, Pfizer Biopharmaceutical Group President Angela Hwang, announced its partnership with the South African Biovac Insitute to manufacture and distribute the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within the African Union – the first such arrangement for African production of the mRNA COVID vaccine.
Another highlight of the Summit was two ‘invitation only’ special sessions – the first was on the future of energy and climate/clean energy in Africa. U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, was joined by other senior USG officials and senior African officials from key oil producing nations. A lively dialogue covered important topics such as Africa’s energy poverty, the need for energy access on the continent, calls for countries to work together to promote public-private partnerships to address climate change, and for fair treatment in the development and financing of Africa’s energy transition.
The second ‘invitation only’ session brought together select business leaders with key Members of Congress, including Rep. Karen Bass and Rep. Chris Smith of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa to discuss U.S.-Africa trade policy. This high-level dialogue focused on legislation such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and explored what U.S. legislation and policies are needed to promote greater U.S.-Africa trade and investment.
CCA signed an MOU with the COMESA Business Council (CBC) to promote greater two-way trade and business partnerships between U.S. companies and those operating in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region which covers nineteen countries.
African leaders participating at the summit included H.E. Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and AU Chairman, H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique and SADC Chairman, Hon. Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.
In addition to African Heads of States, a host of African Ministers of trade, energy, agriculture, investment, ICT, and infrastructure from more than ten countries across the continent also participated in various Summit sessions.