Tuesday, July 27

WELCOME AND OPENING PLENARY | New Pathways to a Stronger U.S.-Africa Economic Partnership

2021 poses a unique opportunity for the United States and its African partners to reset and redefine their relationship, working together to shape the global and each nation's own path to economic recovery. 

 

The Summit's opening plenary will offer a platform for Heads of State, senior U.S. government officials and CEOs of leading U.S. and African companies to discuss new pathways to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa. These leaders will discuss their mutual priorities and provide insights on the directions that they are taking to achieve them.

 

This high-level dialogue will set the scene for a three-day agenda that will build on these priorities with country- and sector-focused sessions designed to set a framework around economic policies as well as new initiatives that will build forward better the historic U.S.-Africa relationship. 


PLENARY | The Role of Women's Leadership in Driving an Inclusive Recovery 

While we have yet to see the full economic impact of Covid-19, we know that women have been disproportionately affected. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, preliminary evidence suggests that the pandemic and the related economic downturn have impacted women more severely than men, partially re-opening gender gaps that had already been closed.

 

To ensure women are not left behind as we shape the post pandemic world, deliberate steps must be taken to guarantee they have equal access to senior decision-making roles, technologies and information, economic opportunities, adequate financial tools, and healthcare. The plenary will bring together U.S and African women leaders in both the private and public sectors to discuss how we can work together to deliver equality-based policies and programs to drive an inclusive recovery and narrow the Gender Gap globally and more specifically in Africa. 


CONCURRENT SESSIONS


New Pathways to A Stronger U.S.-Africa Trade Relationship

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected over the next decade to dramatically boost both Africa's intra-regional as well as global trade, including with the United States. Many are already focused on how to build on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) -- the cornerstone of the U.S.-Africa economic relationship which is scheduled to end in 2025. Others also see the negotiation of the U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement as a model and potential new pathway for enhancing the U.S.-Africa trade relationship. American companies are increasingly interested in taking advantage of the increased market integration seen in Africa as well as leveling the playing field for U.S. companies competing with companies from countries that have more reciprocal market arrangements with African nations.  This session will focus on how the United States and its African partners can work collaboratively to support the AfCFTA and Africa's regional integration while exploring ways to enhance as well as go beyond AGOA.  


Infrastructure Development: Catalyst for Economic Reboot

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a resilient and interconnected infrastructure system which facilitates the movement of goods, services, and people. With AfCFTA implementation, new opportunities emerging as global supply chains are retooled, and a focus on new infrastructure financing options, Africa has a unique opportunity to deploy a continentwide infrastructure development plan that will connect existing infrastructure, develop new ones, and spur unprecedented economic growth. This session will discuss ways to structure African infrastructure development to maximize the impact on economic growth.



Beyond Covid-19: Pathways to Resilient Health Systems in Africa 

The COVID pandemic has dramatically underscored how critical a resilient and networked health system is to a country's national and economic security. It has shown that to effectively strengthen health security and build resilience – particularly in Africa, there is a need for more collaboration, connectivity and deliberate data collection and information exchange across countries and regions as well as between the public and private sectors. In the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the key areas that have stood out in boosting Africa's health security and resilience include: preparedness for disruptive health threats, communities' access to basic healthcare, and the capacity of healthcare supply chains.   

 

While the COVID pandemic has strained already challenged networks in most countries, it has also spurred countries to deploy innovative new procedures and technologies to deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost. This session will convene key public and private sector leaders from the U.S. and Africa's healthcare sectors to discuss the importance of leveraging partnerships and digital solutions to address the full spectrum of health issues in the region. These issues include funding gaps, the need for more trained healthcare providers, better access to facilities and treatments, and a range of logistics and management challenges. African countries are also coping with a very dynamic set of challenges, ranging from continuing hard-won success in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic, related challenges such as hepatitis prevalence in patients, to managing periodic challenges like Ebola to the growing prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).  


Doing Business in Country

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit's "Doing Business in Country" sessions are organized and run by the public sector of the featured country and give investors from both the U.S. and Africa the opportunity to gain insight on how to enter or expand in the market. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about business opportunities, governmental policies and private success stories from high‐level government officials and representatives from the private sector. 


Prosper Africa 2021: Building Back Better Together 

 The Prosper Africa initiative was launched at the US-Africa Business Summit in June 2019. Since then, the U.S. Government has helped close 500 two-way trade and investment deals across 45 African countries for an estimated total value of $47 billion. As the world has been rocked by a global pandemic, the U.S. Government has adapted its trade and investment tools, and created new ones, to help U.S. and African businesses adjust their strategies to respond to significant shifts in global supply chains and adjustments African governments are making to support a rapid economic recovery from the impacts of COVID.

 

This panel will bring together high-level officials from across the U.S. Government to showcase the new tools in the Prosper Africa toolkit and share information about new U.S. Government priorities and programs, including new programs to promote investments in the health and ICT sectors. It affords companies a unique opportunity to not just hear the latest on trade and investment promotion from senior U.S. Government officials, but also convey suggestions and get questions answered.

Wednesday, July 28

PLENARY | Forging Commercial Partnerships to Achieve More Equitable Vaccine Access

 The speed and scale of the spread of COVID 19 shocked the ability of countries to deal with the public health crisis while disrupting global supply chains. A handful of companies have been able to develop incredibly effective vaccines in record-breaking time, and they now forecast they will be able to supply vaccines to inoculate 70% of the world's population by the end of 2021. As vaccine production ramps up, however, there has been growing frustration and anxiety with the distribution of vaccines, as richer nations are estimated to have received up to 90% of the billion doses that have been delivered through April. The African CDC has expressed the concern that continued delays in getting Africa access to vaccines, which remains the least vaccinated continent, could condemn it to being seen as the "COVID continent," subject to international health and therefore economic isolation as global trade and transit links begin to open.      

 

This panel will bring together authoritative figures from the companies leading global vaccine production and African Governments to unpack the issues related to global production levels, as well as those related to distributing vaccines in Africa, including discussion of the complex logistics of distributing vaccines within countries, setting up vaccination centers and training necessary staff. This panel will also discuss how companies, international organizations and African Governments can better prepare for future outbreaks, including how best to build up African capacity to manufacture and distribute vaccines and related equipment, finance these purchases, and bolster national health networks.    


CONCURRENT SESSIONS


Closing the Trade Finance Gap: A Pathway to Supporting More SMEs, Diaspora, and Women Owned Businesses 

The African Development Bank surveyed more than 250 banks in 45 different African countries and found that even though 93 percent of banks provided trade finance solutions, only 28 percent of banks' total trade finance portfolio benefited SMEs, even less women-owned businesses, while the bulk of trade finance facilities served large companies. It also found a significant deficit compared to demand for trade finance, further estimating the trade finance gap in Africa being approximately 25 percent of total demand. Inadequate financial infrastructure, including credit information systems, make it nearly impossible to de-risk transactions and enhance banks' abilities to offer affordable trade finance solutions, particularly for SMEs. In recent years, understanding this tremendous gap, financial institutions, including non-bank financial institutions have developed trade finance products targeting unmet demand in the market. Panelists will discuss innovative approaches to closing the gap in Africa's trade finance industry and doing so in ways that benefit SMEs, diaspora, and women-owned businesses both in the United States and Africa.


Building a Sustainable Agribusiness Ecosystem

African Development Bank studies shows that the agribusiness sector is projected to be a $ 1 trillion industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 compared to $ 313 billion in 2010. This sector remains the largest employer, contributor to the gross domestic production and a critical source of foreign exchange in Africa. Partnerships, long-term policies, flexible and robust financing mechanisms, integration to global value chains and technology deployment will be critical to take full advantage of the expected growth in this strategic sector. This session will discuss the most effective strategies for achieving a sustainable agribusiness environment in Africa, and the ways that the U.S. public and private sectors can be partners in this.


Congressional Dialogue on U.S.-Africa Economic Partnership (By-Invitation-only)

 The U.S. Congress plays a critical role in shaping U.S. economic policies and initiatives in Africa - including through legislation like AGOA as well as appropriating funds for key initiatives like MCC and PEPFAR, and establishing institutions like the USDFC. Working in coordination with the U.S. Executive Branch, Congress lays the framework for the U.S. relationship with Africa, including its economic partnership. Members of Congress recognize the importance of rapidly growing African markets and continental integration for U.S. interests, and are already exploring ways to build on and enhance AGOA, establish potential new free trade agreements, and facilitate U.S. trade and investment in Africa. 

 

This session will feature key leaders from both the House and Senate trade and foreign affairs committees and provide a unique opportunity for them to engage with African officials and U.S. companies looking to take advantage of Africa's extensive trade, investment, and commercial opportunities.  


Doing Business in Country

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit's "Doing Business in Country" sessions are organized and run by the public sector of the featured country and give investors from both the U.S. and Africa the opportunity to gain insight on how to enter or expand in the market. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about business opportunities, governmental policies and private success stories from high‐level government officials and representatives from the private sector. 


Tourism: A Path to Post-COVID Economic Relaunch 

UNCTAD notes that tourism contributes 7% to African GDP, creates and supports over 24 million jobs, and serves as an important sector for FDI, including from the United States. Tourism was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. One study shows that Africa's tourism sector practically collapsed with (some of the impacts on airlines, hotels, workers, etc). As a vital economic sector and source of foreign exchange in many Africa countries, the relaunch of Africa's tourism sector is critical to Africa's post-COVID economic recovery. Though the outlook for the sector remains highly uncertain, public and private partnership is the key to reviving this sleeping giant.

 

This session will bring together government and private sector leaders to share their vision and strategies to revive this critical sector. 

Thursday, July 29

PLENARY | Digital TransformationPathway for Enabling African Business Environment

 The African Union's Digital Transformation Strategy envisions building an all-inclusive secured single digital market in Africa by 2030. In line with Africa's Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation plan, the strategy is designed to harness the benefits of digitalization and support the implementation of digital trade, digital identity, and digital economy.  

 

The African online marketplace could drive innovation, open, and expand markets especially for Africa's fast-growing consumer class, increase access for people in rural communities, and create new business opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises. 

 

African digitalization provides significant business opportunities connecting all sectors. For most African countries, digitalization offers a transformative leapfrog opportunity. The November 2020 "Digital Sprinters" report notes that the adoption of digital technologies in 16 important global emerging economies (including several in Africa) could create an annual potential opportunity of up to $3.4 trillion. Adopting the right government policies, equipping the private sector with the digital essentials, and putting citizens at the center of the digital economy can drive digital transformation (including in Africa) and can improve incomes, productivity, and economic growth. This session will showcase the roles of private sector and policymakers and the ways the U.S. and African public and private sectors can work collaboratively to realize Africa's digital transformation.

 

CONCURRENT SESSIONS


Special Session: The Future of Energy in Africa: Transition and Pathway to Cleaner Energy(By Invitation Only) 

In line with the SDG goal #7 for affordable and clean energy, African countries are designing distinctive policies and developing clean energy transition initiatives that will utilize the best technologies for clean oil production while simultaneously pursuing a broad portfolio of energy sources – combining domestic natural gas with solar, wind, and hydroelectric. Such strategies will need to take account of the exponential growth in energy demand on the continent and set the stage for governments and the private sector to work collaboratively to drive rapid and sustainable development in Africa. 

 

The energy transition in Africa presents an unprecedented opportunity for public and private sector investments into affordable, cleaner, and reliable energy that can move the world closer to universal basic energy access while also building energy infrastructure that creates jobs, powers cities, and advances other important sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing.  

 

The pathway to clean energy and reaching zero emissions in Africa will require innovative thinking about what is possible and what is practical. This roundtable will enable a dialogue among private and public sector partners to chart a path forward for a just and equitable energy transition in Africa.


Doing Business in Country

The U.S.-Africa Business Summit's "Doing Business in Country" sessions are organized and run by the public sector of the featured country and give investors from both the U.S. and Africa the opportunity to gain insight on how to enter or expand in the market. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about business opportunities, governmental policies and private success stories from high‐level government officials and representatives from the private sector. 


Pandemic-Inspired Digital Solutions and Innovative Pathways in the Health Sector

Panelists in this session will address utilizing PPPs and technology to close Africa's healthcare and health systems gaps. Speakers will examine leveraging available and existing data to strengthen healthcare systems as well as new technologies and data visualization for speedy decision making. This session will also focus on how the U.S. and African government and private sectors can collaborate to successfully use these tools and strategies in African health systems to address challenges related to health system strengthening, accessing quality care, and disease response and emergency preparedness.



CLOSING PLENARY| Financing New Pathways to A Stronger U.S.-Africa Economic Partnership

The American economy is expected to grow over 3.5% in 2021 fueled by unprecedented government spending and a robust vaccination campaign. Sub-Saharan African economic activity is targeted to rise by 2.7% in 2021 without such an influx of economic stimulus. It is critical that innovative financing mechanisms support these new pathways which will contribute to job creation and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. This plenary session will highlight innovative financing mechanisms in strategic growth sectors like agribusiness, energy, health, ICT, and infrastructure.

 

Senior African government officials will address their investment priorities and discuss with U.S. government and private sector representatives and financial institution leaders the financing tools needed to spur growth and recovery as well as a stronger U.S.-Africa economic partnership.