The Race to ‘Power Africa’: Open Call For Major And Small U.S Business Owners To Get On Board

Power players assemble in NYC to bring electricity to the continent, network and make deals

Congressman Meeks with Chief of Staff, Sophia Lafargue

Congressman Meeks, staff host Power Africa summit

The goal is to work with African governments, the private sector and other partners including the World Bank and African Development Bank in six major countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Scott Eisner, vice president of African Affairs and International Operation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes it is time to change the dynamic. He says, “Everyone talks about private partnerships. We should really be focusing on Private-Public partnerships. How the private sector leads with the public sector supporting. Tell the governments what our needs are rather than listening to the governments telling us what we should be doing.”

Their pitch to the African governments is that their respective countries will be better off using American technology, which they say is of better quality, provides long-term stability and delivers a cleaner product, instead of opting to partner with the Chinese, which they say will do it with less environmental standards, less care about the country that its being put into, use fewer African workers and less care about the future of their sustainable network.

It’s a short window and the clock is ticking for U.S. businesses who wish to get on board. The front line for the U.S. government in many of these emerging markets is the U.S Chambers of Commerce which has established networks across sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a major tool and resource for businesses looking to make deals, to get the right information and connect with the right partners.

According to one General Electric executive on the panel, “There is an enormous untapped reservoir of goodwill for American companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. A lot of U.S. businesses see Africa and think risk. But there is opportunity in risk. Africans know that U.S. brands stand for ethics, quality, and reliability. They want to see more American companies on the continent. The question is just simply taking the courage to make that step and partner with the right people on the ground.”

For more information on Power Africa and to learn how to get involved visit www.usaid.gov/powerafrica.

The race to power Africa and make money in the process is on, full steam ahead.

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