Last week, Nigerian President Buhari and President Obama spoke at length in the Oval Office. Much of the discussion focused on defeating Boko Haram and rooting out corruption in Nigeria. Yet, President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, which aims to help provide access to 60 million households and businesses across Africa, was also high on the agenda.
CGD Policy Blogs
Jobs and economic opportunies are increasingly at the top of developing nations' agendas. According to CGD senior fellow Ben Leo, China and other emerging market nations are aligning their development tools and activities with these new priorities.
Congress will soon make some big trade policy decisions that impact Sub-Saharan Africa. The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides duty free access to the $17 trillion US market for qualifying African countries, is set to expire this fall.
Last week, a high-powered group of investors, foundations, and academics called for the establishment of a US Development Finance Bank – which would combine existing programs at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID, the US Trade and Development Agency, and the Treasury Department.
Within the last two weeks, top American and Chinese officials completed major trips to Sub-Saharan Africa. In classic Chinese style, Premier Li signed a laundry list of commercial deals and bilateral agreements across four countries.
This past weekend, Secretary Kerry delivered what was billed as a major address on US-Africa policy and a scene setter for President Obama’s Africa Summit in August. Kerry traveled throughout the region over the last week, making stops in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. As the list of countries suggest, the trip focused heavily on security hotspots. However, the so-called ‘Commitment to Africa’ speech was his big opportunity to reach beyond current crises and outline his broader vision for US engagement in the region. So, did he hit the right notes?
While I was plowing through Morten Jerven’s enlightening book Poor Numbers last year, my mind concentrated on Nigeria. It stayed with Nigeria. At that time, I was consumed with figuring out what on earth was going on with Nigeria’s poverty figures. How was it possible for the country to experience growth in both its GDP and extreme poverty rates at the same time?
Trade policy is one of America’s most potent development tools, particularly for the world’s poorest countries. The big question has always been how best to use it. Should the US give away duty-free access to its $17 trillion market? Essentially opening the door to anyone in the hopes of benefitting as many people as possible.