Africa Business Portal Establishing Local Connections Nationwide to Help US and African Co.’s Safely and Successfully Trade and Invest

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One year after President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the U.S. still lags behind China and the E.U. in Africa investment and trade relations. To boost U.S competitiveness, Africa Business Portal will provide resources to help businesses tap into this fast-emerging economic opportunity that’s expected to boom in the coming years.

“We have the infrastructure in place to make trading and investing in Africa as risk-free and as profitable as possible,” said ABP Founder and President Lee Clegg.

Sub-Saharan Africa, home to eight of the 20 fastest-growing economies in the world, is quickly emerging as a substantial business opportunity for U.S. companies. To facilitate conducting safe and successful bilateral trade and investment in Africa, recently launched startup Africa Business Portal (ABP) has assembled a team of more than 45 Africa industry advisors, as well as local resources and ABP network members throughout the two continents.

“We have the infrastructure in place to make trading and investing in Africa as risk-free and as profitable as possible,” said ABP Founder and President Lee Clegg. “We’ll connect businesses to the many valuable resources available from Washington, D.C. But the other key to successful U.S./Africa trade is offering resources on the local level. We’re the first U.S.-based organization that will soon have local-level resources in every U.S. state and Sub-Saharan country.”

It’s projected Africa will have 1.1 billion middle-income consumers by 2060 and the world’s largest workforce by 2050. Clegg says his goal is to prepare U.S. companies to capitalize on this growth and once again establish the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner — a designation China captured in 2009.

ABP’s advisors and network members include multi-national executives, a former U.S. ambassador to two African countries, two American Chamber presidents in Africa, state-based District Export Council leaders and members, highly respected educators, U.S.-based Africa chambers of commerce leadership, international legal and accounting firms, the Global Chamber president, Africa-related non-profit/NGO executives, retailers, tourism executives, marketing experts, U.S. minority business specialists, Africa consultants, Africa-based legal firms and accountants, an African Union consultant, political consultants, infrastructure and logistics consultants, and agriculture and entrepreneurial consultants.

“As a former diplomat who worked for years with U.S. companies trying to do business abroad, I deeply appreciate the Africa Business Portal,” said ABP Advisor Melissa Sanderson. Sanderson is also VP of international affairs for Freeport-McMoRan. “This group understands the power of relationships, the importance of being guided by reputable and reliable in-country individuals, and the vital role of information.

“Our advisors and legal experts are very savvy regarding opening doors for U.S. companies to enter the African market with full Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance,” said Clegg. “When I explained our business model to them, they all said this is what needs to happen to make U.S./African trade more accessible. They know it needs to be based on a process, and not so much on events.”

According to Lee, ABP requires all network members and advisors to participate in a third-party pre-screening process to ensure each is committed to national and international compliance standards, resulting in a network of trustworthy partners. A paid ABP membership is required to view other network members and contact information, and to access additional resources. Most of the website information, however, is accessible with a free login.

ABP’s launch coincides with the first anniversary of President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where heads from 50 African states convened in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of U.S.-Africa economic opportunities.

The summit provided American participants with an opportunity to address the U.S. track record of investing far less in African trade than China and the E.U. For example, the total trade in 2013 between the U.S. and all 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa was only slightly larger than U.S. trade with the Netherlands, according to statements made by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice in remarks made to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference, “Africa Braintrust” on Sept.18.

The U.S. government-promised investments of the summit meeting, combined with the promises made during the 2014 U.S.-Africa Business Forum, equal $33 billion in commitments on Africa.

“Trade between Africa and the United States is far below where it should be,” said Rice. “We’re taking steps to increase trade and investment with Africa, which supports jobs and growth in all our countries.”

“With ABP’s trusted network and resources, we anticipate being a key player in seeing a substantial increase in economic activity between the U.S. and Africa,” said Clegg.

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About Africa Business Portal

Completed in 2015, Africa Business Portal (ABP) facilitates successful, transparent and long-lasting U.S.-Africa bilateral trade and investment. It provides members with unfettered access to region-specific government, non-profit, association and academic resources for 50 Sub-Saharan countries, as well as all 50 U.S. states. ABP pre-screens all network members to ensure that each is committed to national and international compliance standards, creating a network of trustworthy partners. ABP’s ever-increasing number of advisors from both continents offers members expert insight into trade and investment in specific regions and industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, mining and quarrying, oil and gas, banking, education and training, information and communications. ABP is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Leland Clegg

Jessica Mackey
since: 11/2013
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