WASHINGTON (USDA) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden will lead a trade mission to promote U.S. agricultural trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, Sept. 16-20. The trade mission launches USDA's Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, which aims to expand U.S. agricultural commercial ties in the region.
During the week, the USDA delegation will travel to South Africa and Mozambique to learn first-hand about the region's rapidly evolving market conditions and business environment – information that will enable agribusinesses to develop export strategies for sub-Saharan Africa. The mission includes 18 U.S. companies and 16 U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations that represent a variety of agricultural products including snack foods, beverages, fruit and nuts, agricultural machinery and more. The companies and trade associations will meet with African buyers during the week.
"Many U.S. agribusinesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – are beginning to appreciate the opportunities for trade and investment in Africa," said Harden. "This initiative will establish relationships between U.S. and African businesses and support agricultural growth throughout the region."
Sub-Saharan Africa's strong economic outlook, growing middle class and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods creates a promising market for U.S. food and agricultural products. Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than 200 percent. Last year, bilateral agricultural trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa totaled more than $4.75 billion.
Harden will also open Africa's International Food & Drink Trade Show in Johannesburg on Sept. 18. Eleven U.S. companies will exhibit at the show's USA pavilion. In addition to the trade mission, USDA and South African officials will meet to discuss bilateral trade issues and visit food aid projects funded by USDA's Food for Progress Program in Mozambique.
The USDA trade initiative supports the "U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa" plan outlined by President Obama in June 2012.