Original Article was published on Linkedin
Africa is one of the biggest market opportunities in the global economy, and U.S. companies cannot afford to miss out.
Africa boasts 6 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies – with 400,000 new companies forming in the last year alone – and it’s expected to reach a 5 percent overall growth rate in 2015.
Africa has now developed into a global economic force and so our relationship must evolve and mature. That was the purpose of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum co-hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Commerce: To recast our relationship as a full, equal, and advanced economic partnership – a partnership that holds as much promise for African countries as it does for America.
Foreign investment in Africa has reached record highs – but that is being driven more by China and Europe than the United States. And while U.S. exports to the continent are at a record high, it’s also true that only 2% of our total exports go to Africa.
That means we are missing out on a major opportunity to create jobs here at home. In the years to come, as Africa accounts for an increasing share of the world market, companies that want to remain competitive globally will need to have an African presence.
The business that I own – Bloomberg LP – has offices in six countries in Africa, employing more than 160 people, including more than 120 full-time and freelance journalists. And we are growing there.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has also been investing in Africa for years, because perhaps the single best investment you can make to spur economic development is to improve public health. The healthier a society it is, the more productive it is, and the greater potential it has for growth.
We know in the decades ahead, there is no limit to the progress that Africa can make. Based on the incredible energy at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of our partnership.