American trade and investment relationships with Africa matter

“Trade, not aid.”

Two key audio system promoted that slogan at a latest roundtable occasion hosted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in honor of Africa Day, commemorating the launch of the Organisation of African Unity.

Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, international well being and international human rights, confused that, transferring ahead, U.S. coverage towards Africa must be extra about trade and investment, much less about support.

“We will need to be aligned — like a lot of other countries around the world that view the continent of Africa as a partner — as an investment partner, a business partner, and not view the continent of Africa as a place where we need to deliver charity,” she stated.

These phrases earned a heat endorsement from the subsequent speaker, World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“As the DG of WTO,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala stated, “I fully want to support what Rep. Karen Bass said: Trade, not aid, for Africa.”

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala praised Africa’s “entrepreneurial dynamism and connectivity.” She additionally highlighted the continent’s efforts to develop trade and regional integration, notably by way of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

That settlement, now ratified by 36 African nations, went into impact on Jan. 1.

Indeed, it’s time for Washington to pursue a higher financial partnership with Africa.

Currently, the cornerstone of America’s financial engagement with Africa is the 21-year-old African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). A preferential trade program, AGOA gives eligible sub-Saharan African nations duty-free entry to the U.S. market for greater than 1,800 items till 2025.

More can and must be executed to build on AGOA and improve it to strengthen and broaden industrial ties with Africa.

A renewed U.S. effort to advertise financial freedom throughout Africa also needs to be a central a part of America’s long-term mission to help African nations. Greater financial freedom is the long-term answer to the continent’s weak well being safety capacities and many extra of its financial and social challenges.

Economic freedom is all about empowering folks to pursue their desires by unleashing higher alternatives to earn a residing. Preserving and advancing financial freedom ensures actual, lasting progress on many fronts.

Over the previous 27 years, The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom has demonstrated plain hyperlinks between financial freedom, particular person liberty, and prosperity in nations world wide.

The details are indeniable: Free markets and free folks have labored hand in hand to extend prosperity and enhance the standard of life by way of well being outcomes, environmental safety and a lot, far more. Perhaps not surprisingly, nations with freer markets additionally are usually extra resilient in occasions of disaster and extra able to dealing with difficult exterior shocks.

As the 2021 Index emphasizes, Africa can do far more to advance financial freedom and liberate its many entrepreneurs.

While the U.S. can not present the leaders of overseas nations the political will wanted to remodel their economies in response to free-market rules, it may possibly help the reason for financial freedom by way of constant coverage dialogues with its African companions and by offering technical assist for reform-minded nations.

The confirmed proper manner ahead lies in advancing free-market insurance policies that facilitate trade, not support, which must be the inspiration of America’s lasting technique for sensible engagement with Africa.

A great subsequent step towards that strategic goal can be for the Biden administration to renew negotiations geared toward hammering out a free trade settlement with Kenya. As a buying and selling associate, Kenya presents huge alternatives. So far, regrettably, the administration will say solely that it’s reviewing its position.

Kick-starting negotiations on a U.S.-Kenya free trade settlement can be a strong sign of American dedication to solidify our pragmatic engagement with Africa. And that might be a significant stepping stone towards getting into higher partnerships with many extra nations on the continent.  

• Anthony Kim is the analysis supervisor and editor of The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Terry Miller is the director of the suppose tank’s Center for International Trade and Economics.

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