A U.S. trade delegation led by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and joined by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Arun Kumar concluded a three-nation trade mission in Nairobi, Kenya, today.
The mission introduced representatives from 14 U.S. companies active in the transportation, agriculture, energy and equipment, and service sectors to public and private sector decision-makers during stops in Maputo, Mozambique; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya. It was the first U.S. government-sponsored trade mission led by a U.S. Secretary of Transportation, highlighting the important role that transportation plays in creating jobs through exports.
“It was an honor to lead this U.S. delegation,” Secretary Foxx said. “I’m confident our activities during the mission will result in mutually beneficial outcomes. This mission furthered the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Africa economic and political relationship.”
“The delegation learned a great deal about the business environment and upcoming projects in the region, and had the opportunity to form partnerships with companies throughout these important markets,” Kumar said. “These companies are wiser and better able to take advantage of the enormous potential sub-Saharan Africa provides.”
In Maputo, Secretary Foxx and Assistant Secretary Kumar celebrated the grand openings of offices of two mission participants – General Electric and Teras Cargo Transport. Kumar expanded Global Markets’ footprint on the continent by opening Commerce’s first office in Mozambique.
In Johannesburg, Secretary Foxx and his counterpart, South African Transportation Minister Dipuo Peters, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to work together on important issues related to roads, rail, transit, air and maritime transport, including skills and workforce development. An important element of the agreement is a mutual commitment to bring more women into the transportation field. Secretary Foxx and Minister Peters immediately launched the “Tomorrow’s Transportation Leaders” initiative, a capacity-building program for Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the launch, Secretary Foxx led a roundtable discussion with young transportation professionals who participated in the first workshop under the initiative.
Foxx and Kumar also witnessed a new partnership agreement signing between Teras Cargo Transport and Grinrod Limited that will expand Teras’ shipping services to southern and eastern Africa. Teras will grow its fleet and Grinrod will provide stevedoring and terminal services at ports throughout the region. The agreement will increase jobs within the oil and gas industry sectors in both countries.
In Nairobi, Secretary Foxx met with President Kenyatta to deepen relationships and to discuss opportunities to expand transportation sector exports. They committed to continue to work together on critical transportation infrastructure issues, including safety, security, and the impact of transportation on the environment. Assistant Secretary Kumar toured IBM’s Research and Development Facility – its only R&D facility on the continent, and delivered keynote remarks focused on the importance of innovation to the region’s economic future.
The U.S. business delegation participated in a series of matchmaking meetings with local firms at each of the three stops. More than 150 meetings were held, each offering participating companies an opportunity to promote their world class products, technologies, and services.
“United Laboratories is honored to be part of this trade mission. There is a tremendous value in spending time with country ministers as well as other like-minded companies that understand Africa’s potential,” said United Laboratories Troy Freeland. “Investment in infrastructure from transportation to energy will boost the economy and create new jobs. We intend to be product safety leaders in the region. Our next steps are clear.”
This trade mission is a follow-up to President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and supports the President’s Doing Business in Africa campaign, which connects U.S. businesses with African partners throughout the continent.