Newsdeck

Business group forms council to help US compete in South Africa

By Reuters 11 December 2012

A leading U.S. business group on Monday said it was creating a new body called the U.S.-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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said.

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

U.S. 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,” U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats told Reuters. “We really see this (new council) as part of a two-way win-win process where we can strengthen trade ties and investment.”

U.S. 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 U.S.-South Africa Council include U.S. 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.

U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. corporate and government leaders, Eisner said.

The U.S. 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. DM

Photo by Reuters.

Gallery

Support DAILY MAVERICK & get FREE UBER vouchers every month

An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money, though not nearly as much as its absence can cost global community. No country can live and prosper without truth - that's why it matters.

Every Daily Maverick article and every Scorpio exposé is proof of our dedication to this unshakeable mission. Investing in our news media is by far the most effective investment into South Africa's future.

You can support Independent and Investigative journalism by joining Maverick Insider. If you contribute R150 or more per month you will receive R100 back in UBER vouchers. EVERY MONTH until October 2019.

So, if you'd like to help and do something meaningful for yourself and your country, then sign up to become a Maverick Insider. Together we can Defend Truth.


Scorpio

Along with the R16.1m in illicit payments, VBS approved Brian Shivambu’s 1.46m home loan, with a little help from uBhuti ka Brian

By Pauli Van Wyk

Your SIM card is a legitimate self-contained computer. It has a 30MHz CPU64kb of RAM and a tiny amount of storage space. It won't run the latest FIFA if that's what you're hoping.