Transcript: Telephonic Media Briefing with U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Arun Kumar (JUne 22, 2015)

MODERATOR: Greetings to everyone from the US Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub.  I would like to welcome our callers who have dialed in from across Africa. Today we are joined by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and the Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Arun Kumar. Assistant Secretary Kumar is currently joining the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to lead a delegation of fourteen U.S. companies to sub-Saharan Africa. Assistant Secretary Kumar will discuss how the U.S. Department of Commerce is supporting President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign and expanding its footprint on the continent to promote increased U.S. exports to Africa. Assistant Secretary Kumar is speaking to us from Johannesburg, South Africa. We will begin with remarks from Assistant Secretary Kumar. We will then open it up to your questions.

For those of you listening to the call in English, please press *1 on your phone to join the question queue. If you are using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset before entering *1. For those of you listening to the call in French and Portuguese, we have received some of your questions submitted in advance by email and you may continue to submit your questions in English via email to afmediahub@state.gov.   If you want to follow the discussion on Twitter, follow us on @AfricaMediaHub.

Today’s call is on the record. And with that I will turn it over to Assistant Secretary Kumar.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Thank you Camille. Thank you for that introduction. I am delighted to be here today. A special welcome to our newest U.S. commercial posts in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, and Tanzania. I am pleased to be on this trade mission to Africa led by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and accompanied by fourteen U.S. companies spanning various sectors including agriculture, energy and transportation.  Although this trade mission is targeting Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya it is important to recognize the entire region. Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s fastest growing regions and home to six of the ten fastest growing economies. With economic growth predicted to reach 4.5% in 2015, the region is outpacing global average growth. U.S. goods exposed to sub-Saharan Africa increased by 6% reaching a record 25.4 billion in 2014. Furthermore, our bilateral trade is also helping to bring new investment and technologies into Africa which ultimately will create new jobs, spur innovation and improve the lives of countless citizens throughout the continent. As President Obama has said previously, Africa is the world’s next major economic success story. U.S. companies recognize this and understand the importance of the region as a future economic leader and that is part of the reason that I am today accompanying a delegation of world-class companies from the United States.

We have already seen companies who have come with us, partnering with global entities, and are pleased that as a result of this cooperation both partners assist in each other’s growth, which will create new jobs and economic benefits in the United States and African countries. Through the Doing Business in Africa Campaign the U.S. Government is strengthening its commercial relationship with the continent of Africa, a diverse region that offers substantial trade and investment opportunities across national and regional markets.

Let me touch on a few of the follow-up actions that we have made in pursuance of the Doing Business in Africa Campaign. First, the Commerce Department has expanded our footprint in Africa. We have doubled our footprint from four countries to eight countries where we are directly represented and we work in a number of other countries through our partnership arrangement with states. Two, we held the conference back in November in Atlanta called Discover Global Markets – Africa where we introduced the African opportunities to a number of a small and medium enterprises in the United States. Third, we are here on this trade mission. Fourth, in September we will hold a conference called Trade Winds where we will bring about seventy companies from the United States to eight countries, including a conference here in Johannesburg. And finally I must mention that Secretary Pritzker will be visiting Africa for the third time within the last twelve months when she comes with President Obama to Nairobi next month.

Another major effort that is well known now, Power Africa, has had tremendous support from the U.S. Government and Power Africa has been active in promoting the goal of creating thirty thousand megawatts of clean energy capacity on the African continent. They have closed about four thousand megawatts worth of deals and another fourteen thousand in the pipeline. These deals range from small and medium, off-grid projects to major regional projects.

The President created the Doing Business in Africa Council–an Advisory Council to provide input to him, which is essentially run by the Secretary of Commerce. This council consists of senior executives, who are familiar with Africa, U.S. executives, who provide advice on enhancing the U.S.-Africa trade relationship. The council has met and provided very important recommendations focusing on infrastructure as well as long-term investments in infrastructure.

I must mention that the upcoming sixth Global Entrepreneurial Summit will be held in Kenya, promoting entrepreneurship in Africa. This will be July 24th to 26th and will be attended by President Obama. Since 2010 when the U.S. hosted the first summit in Washington, GES has expanded to become a global event. This will be the second time this event is being held in Africa. The established tradition of the GES demonstrates the US Government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world. Commerce Secretary Pritzker will be a lead spokesperson for this summit.

Thank you for your time and I will now open the floor for any questions that you may have.

MODERATOR:    Thank you Assistant Secretary Kumar. We will know begin the question and answer portion of today’s call. For those of you who would like to ask questions, please state your name and affiliation and limit yourself to one question only related to the topic of today’s briefing. And as a reminder, to join the question queue, you will need to press *1 or for those on the French or Portuguese lines, you may email your questions to afmediahub@state.gov.

Our first question was submitted by email from a journalist at The Punch in Nigeria. What is the level of trade exports and imports between Nigeria and the U.S. since President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign kicked off and what are the challenges of doing business in Nigeria and other African countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Thank you for that question. The US Commercial Service in Nigeria is proactively supporting the presidential initiative under the Doing Business in Africa campaign. Nigeria’s growth rate averaged about 7% over the last decade, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the world. In 2013 U.S. goods exports were about 6.5 billion to Nigeria and we imported about 11.7 billion making for about a total trade of 18 billion dollars between the U.S. and Nigeria.

In terms of your question about what are the barriers to increasing trade, you know in Africa we find two or three major areas to focus on. One is creating regional integration. We believe that the more regional integration that occurs, the better it is going to be for all the countries in the region as well as for the U.S. trade with Africa. Second would be infrastructure, which is both hard and soft. Hard infrastructure really would be transportation, roads, rail and so forth; airports and so forth. The soft infrastructure is infrastructure of how goods move across boundaries, what kinds of customs processes do you have, can you have easy and standard customs procedures and other regulatory procedures across countries. So that whole area of logistics, which is both hard and soft, is a second area. And third is just having policies that reduce barriers to trade and barriers to investment.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question will go to Kevin Kelley of the Nation Media Group. Operator, please open the line for Kevin Kelley.

MEDIA: Okay.  Hi. Can you hear me?

MODERATOR: Yes, go ahead.

MEDIA: Okay, great. Thanks for the briefing, I appreciate it. So I’m not clear as to the primary focus of the trip to the three countries. Is it to promote U.S. exports to Africa, to encourage additional U.S. imports from Africa, both? And, specifically what would be your agenda in Kenya in regards to promoting exports and/or imports? Thanks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Yea, the focus of trade mission–there are really two areas of focus. One is with the trade mission participants and we from the U.S. Government.  We should be increasing opportunities for U.S. exports in a number of sectors including the ones I mentioned, infrastructure, transportation, energy, agriculture. Second, while we’re in each country we do meet with government and business leaders and we talk to them about the various factors that can help increase trade and investment from the U.S. to those countries.

 

Next question perhaps.

 

MODERATOR: Yes, our next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Given that the U.S. is doing business with Africa what is the U.S. doing to remove barriers from one country to another?

 

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  I touched on this in my answer to the previous question. We want to encourage regional integration and that has aspects of logistics and infrastructure as well as the processes of facilitation, having standard and harmonized approaches to customs and border procedures and so forth. So we stand ready to share the statuses and to help in capability building in those areas.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you. Our next question goes to a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA:  Thank you. My question is focused on Ethiopia. I want to see more foreign direct investment, especially in the manufacturing sector.  So will your country have a plan to invest in Ethiopia? What type of [unintelligible] for foreign investors to invest in Ethiopia?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Is your question about investing in manufacturing in Ethiopia? I could not hear your question.

MEDIA:  Yea, manufacturing sector.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Okay. So in general our view is that investments follow trade and as trade increases between the United States and various countries, we generally find that companies that are selling in those countries decide to set up logistics operations, manufacturing operations and so forth. So we have observed that the investment follows trade. So, the lower the barriers to trade and the more trade that occurs, investment follows. In terms of manufacturing specifically our view is that it is really important to be competitive, that manufacturing fits into a scheme of global supply chains that are comparative. So rather than build an entire product–it is very difficult to build an entire product in one country and be competitive. It is very possible to build a component of a product and supply that globally and be competitive. So we encourage the integration of supply chains, and in particular with interest in integrating integral supply chains in small and medium enterprises, because certainly in the United States the small and medium enterprises are a very innovative and important section of our economy and we are very focused in seeing how they can plug into global supply chains and we believe that is an approach that will work well for other countries as well.

MODERATOR: Thank you, the –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  The next question.

MODERATOR: The next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. How can the Doing Business in Africa Campaign help to provide jobs in Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  The Doing Business in Africa is about increasing trade between the U.S. and Africa. We also have other programs like Trade Africa which is focused on increasing trade among African countries. And in all of these, trade promotes economic growth, and trade creates jobs. So, as trade increases, a whole spectrum of jobs are created. So our belief is that economic growth and the growth in trade directly results in the creation of jobs.  And those jobs will be significantly created here in Africa as well as in Africa’s trading partners and we would like the U.S. to be one of those. For instance, here in South Africa where I am speaking from, there are six hundred U.S. companies that have created a hundred and fifty thousand jobs and those six hundred companies, the output of those companies, account for about ten percent of the GDP of South Africa. So that is a clear example of the U.S. companies creating jobs. That is a clear example of how as trade and investment grows, more jobs will be created. And these jobs are typically of a very high quality compared to the average jobs in every country that we operate.

Next question please.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have a follow-up question from Kevin Kelley of the Nation Media Group. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA:  Hi, thanks again for doing this. So, just to be clear, the purpose of the mission is to promote U.S. exports to Africa and this will be seen perhaps in the context of discussions in Congress around the renewal of the AGOA where some members were suggesting that the trade relationship between the U.S. and African countries needs to be more reciprocal, that it shouldn’t just be about the U.S. giving preference to African goods, that there should be more receptivity in Africa to U.S. goods. Is that a good supposition?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  No, I would not really connect the two. This is very straightforward. The trade mission is with fourteen companies with specific technologies and solutions that would be of interest to African countries. So that is pretty straight forward and it’s directly connected to our Doing Business in Africa initiative. You talked about AGOA.  AGOA is the cornerstone of the U.S. trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa. It is a primary economic tool to expand U.S.-sub-Saharan African trade and investment, stimulate economic growth and promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment issues. As you know, the Obama administration is committed to the renewal of AGOA and Congress is taking important steps towards renewing the program including versions passing in both the House and the Senate. So the administration will continue to work closely with Congress to ensure that those initiatives are renewed, but I would keep them on two separate tracks. We’re interested in AGOA, and we’re interested in increasing exports to Africa.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. What is the volume of commercial exchange between the U.S. and Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa were about twenty six billion dollars last year. Our view is that it can be a lot more and that is what we are working hard on and that is why we have a trade mission, that is why we have Trade Winds Africa in September, that’s why we doubled our footprint on the African continent, so we clearly believe that there is a lot more that we can do.

MEDIA: The next question goes to a journalist at the listening party at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA: Okay, thank you. My question is what is the current business relationship of the U.S. with Ethiopia and what are the challenges expected in furthering these business relations?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  So we are very interested in expanding our business in Ethiopia. That is the reason why we opened a new office of the Commercial Service in Ethiopia. We do see a number of opportunities in Ethiopia in a number of different sectors, including power. We’ve already had some successes in Ethiopia since opening the office just a few months ago.

MODERATOR: Okay.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Next question.

MODERATOR: Yes, just a reminder to our questioners, if you do have a question please press *1 on your phone or you may email your questions to afmediahub@state.gov. Assistant Secretary Kumar, you’ve been speaking about the trade mission that you are accompanying. Can you speak a little bit about the kinds of benefits that trade missions like this and investments from American companies can bring to African Countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Absolutely. I mean, I mentioned for instance here in South Africa, where I am speaking from, there are six hundred U.S. companies that have created a hundred and fifty thousand US jobs. And I must also say that the, these trade missions result in partnerships being created with African companies. I was this afternoon at an excellent example of such partnership which has been in existence for several years. This is a partnership between Caterpillar, a U.S.  company, and Barloworld, a South African company. So I had a chance to visit the training facility where they train hundreds of South Africans in a number of technical and mechanical skills to run, operate and maintain complicated and heavy duty equipment. A perfect example of where capabilities built by U.S. companies through their training programs here. And that is just one example. In South Africa alone, about forty billion dollars are spent by the U.S. companies, these hundred and fifty U.S. companies, forty million dollars spent every year in training and development. So U.S. companies bring the ability and the commitment to build capability to train Africans, which enhances over all national capability. It’s interesting that of the hundred and fifty thousand employees, that U.S. companies have here in South Africa, 99% of them are Africans. So most U.S. companies very quickly ensure that the vast majority of their employees are Africans, they are trained, and often many of them can progress to high level positions in those companies globally.

MODERATOR: Thank you and a little bit more on the topic of the trade mission. Could you speak a little bit as to how the specific companies and sectors are chosen for participation in trade missions and also is this a one-off event or will there be additional trade missions we can expect in the near future?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  First, we have a very rigorous process of selecting companies. We look at what are the needs of the countries, what is the demand from those countries, where there is potential for real partnerships and opportunities for US companies. Then we select through an open and transparent process from companies that applied to be a partner of trade mission and the Department of Commerce has done this for years, we got it pretty much down to a science. So that is first part of the question and I am trying to remember the second part of the question.

MODERATOR: Is this a one-off event or will there be others?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  I talked about one earlier. No, it’s not. In fact, in September we have a much larger group of companies coming. We have seventy companies coming visiting eight countries. So it is not one-off. There will be more. We are looking forward to continuing an intense engagement here in Africa.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the US Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. What do you see as the major difficulties in doing Business in Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  Well, one of the difficulties I already mentioned, the whole infrastructure and logistics, the cost of logistics in Africa is enormous. In fact, some business executives have said that the costs of logistics can be several times the cost of labor, which is not a good thing. So better infrastructure, better logistics, is very key. The integration among the various countries, in terms of movements of goods is very key.  More efficient harmonized ways of being able to transport goods across countries is very important. Lower trade barriers and restrictions are very important. An inviting business climate is very important. So a number of factors are very important, which have to do both with policy, with regard to barriers and attractiveness of investment policies, and also with regard to physical things like infrastructure, are both extremely important.  But if those are done, Africa is seen as an area of great opportunity. It’s a young and growing population. It’s a growing middle class. It’s a continent of vast natural resources. It’s a continent whose time has come.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question goes to a journalist at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Operator, please open the line.

MEDIA:  The Campaign focuses on U.S. exports to Africa.  Why not to invest in Africa? The mission is focused on its goods exports to Africa, but Africa wants small investment. So what is your plan in the future?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  This mission is focused on exports to Africa, but as I mentioned earlier, investments often follow exports. As companies get more successful, it becomes logical for them to invest in the countries or the regions that they are successful in. So I, we see exports as a first stage for companies eventually if they’re successful to decide to invest. Separately, with regard to long-term investments in public-private projects, we plan to bring a group of investors from the US, investors from pension funds, endowment funds, and so forth.  Long-term investors who look for investments in public-private partnerships in the area of infrastructure. So we do plan to bring such a group of investors sometime over the next few months. That is the second mission.

MODERATOR: Thank you. You spoke a little bit earlier about the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that is coming up in July in Kenya. What is the US objective in promoting entrepreneurship?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  The United States has been very successful because it has promoted entrepreneurship and innovation. You think about the great US companies, at one time they were all started by entrepreneurs. Whether it was Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company or Edison and General Electric  company–these are  huge global companies that were started by entrepreneurs who invented or built things. And this continues.  Every decade you see dynamic new companies coming out of the U.S. based on innovation and entrepreneurship. So we think that that is a model that would be of interest to other countries as well. So we believe that encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship is something that is good globally. We also believe that it is very empowering, because it means that someone with a bright idea and with the guts to go forward can build a business and grow it and not have to be dependent on being part of a large organization or an established organization. So you can start and build something from ground up if you’ve got the moxie,   and you’ve got the ideas, and you can get the financing. So the idea of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is to bring together entrepreneurs, mentoring agencies, early-stage financing groups, so that they can get together and [unintelligible] evangelize and capitalize entrepreneurship.

MODERATOR: Thank you. I want to mention to our listeners again and for those who have just joined the call, if you would like to ask a question, please press *1 on your phone or you may email a question to afmediahub@state.gov. Assistant Secretary Kumar, could you speak a little bit about what the U.S. Government is doing along with the private sector to promote economic growth in Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  As I mentioned, the President set up the Doing Business in Africa Advisory Council. This council consists of about fifteen CEO’s and similar level executives. So they have met and made various recommendations which we are beginning to address. The highest profile activity in this space has been Power Africa. Power Africa is an initiative to which the US Government commits about three hundred million dollars a year. Power Africa had a target of creating thirty thousand megawatts of power generation capacity in Africa. Originally, two years ago the plan was ten thousand megawatts, but at the last African Leaders Summit in Washington D.C., this target was raised to thirty thousand and I am glad to report that it looks like Power Africa is on a path to concluding about fourteen thousand of those thirty thousand megawatts over the near future. I must also go back and talk about the US-Africa Leader’s Summit that occurred last year, which is another major U.S. Government initiative to bring together leaders of Africa. Fifty-three leaders from Africa got together in Washington in August last year along with over two hundred CEO’s from both sides of the Atlantic and their focus was on opportunities and development in Africa. That whole event resulted in about fourteen billion dollars’ worth of deeds being announced and also equally importantly in putting Africa on the mental map of US businesses.  That adds to the various other activities that I mentioned in terms of trade events, trade missions and so forth. So there are many different U.S. Government initiatives that are aimed at bolstering the importance of Africa and US-Africa trade.

MODERATOR: Thank you. To go back to the entrepreneurship topic for just a moment, could you speak a little bit about what governments could do to stimulate entrepreneurship?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  There are a number of areas that governments can help, primarily enforcing a climate that is good for entrepreneurship, that climate would have to involve kind of level playing field rules, so that a small entrepreneur can play by the same rules as a big company. It would have to include access to financing so that the rules to get financing and the availability of business capital is good for small entrepreneurs. Third, supporting an education system that promotes innovation. These are all areas where governments can directly play a role. Furthermore, sometimes governments try to create incubation facilities and so forth.  And underpinning all of innovation is having strong IP laws, because a lot of innovation is based on the creation of intellectual property and without strong protection for intellectual property it will be difficult to create an atmosphere where entrepreneurs can feel safe to prosper.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question goes to a journalist at the US Embassy in Luanda, Angola. Operator, please open the line.

OPERATOR: It is open. Mr. Angola is your phone muted?

MEDIA:  Hi, good afternoon. I am not a journalist. This is Manuel Cafala of the Commercial Service in Angola. My question goes regarding the Doing Business in Africa somehow is linked as well with activities of Ex-Im bank support. I would like to find out how Ex-Im bank is linked, because we know very well there is a bill about the [unintelligible] and we would like to know exactly how we use [unintelligible] direction on supporting this business.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  So we in the administration, we fully understand the importance of Ex-Im Bank to a number of companies operating in Africa.  And we are working very hard to ensure the continuance of that support.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The next question was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the US Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Why is it only now that U.S. investors are realizing there are good business opportunities in Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  That is an interesting question. The U.S. companies have been very busy, often just within the United States, so it’s not just a question of Africa.  When you look at US companies, many of them, I’d say there are a large number of U.S. companies that can export a lot more than they do today. This is one of the missions of the Commerce Department, to promote a sense of global awareness to create the capability of global fluency, to get more and more U.S. companies to export beyond their borders. We often find that there are a large number of U.S. companies that export to just one country and that might be Canada or Mexico. But what we do find, is that once they taste export success, they look beyond those borders and export to many more countries. So it’s not a question of Africa just for us, it’s a question of promoting the idea of exports to other countries, other regions. We recognize the growth of Africa and we are very keen in the administration that U.S. companies understand the potential and the opportunities in Africa.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Could you speak a little bit about the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and what they are doing?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  The President’s Advisory Council as I mentioned is a group of very senior CEO’s and they are working on ideas and initiatives that the United States Government and private sector, in fact more the private sector than the Government, can focus on with regard to increasing the US-Africa commercial relationship. I mentioned a couple of areas that they have suggested activities in. One was to focus on infrastructure opportunities in Africa. The second was to focus on increasing long-term investment in Africa focused on public-private partnerships.  And there are a number of other areas that they’ve been looking at. But, I mentioned two of the very important ones that in fact will relate to the current trade mission as well as to the investor mission that I mentioned a few minutes ago.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  – a source of valuable input to the US Government.

MODERATOR: Thank you. I’m sorry. Could you just repeat your last statement as I think I cut you off?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  I just said that, I was just saying that it is very valuable for the U.S. Government, for the Department of Commerce, which actually runs this particular program–Secretary Pritzker is the key person running this program–it’s very, very valuable to hear directly from the leaders of U.S. businesses who are on the ground here in Africa on what U.S. companies and the U.S. Government can do to advance our commercial relationship.

MODERATOR: Thank you and we are just about out of time. We have one last question that was submitted by a journalist at the listening party at the Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. What is the relation between U.S. investors and mining companies or industrial companies in sub-Saharan Africa?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  I do not have a specific answer to that, but actually I have a very interesting example. An example of an investment made in the United States by a resources company here in South Africa, which is Sasol. Sasol is the biggest foreign investment investor in the state of Louisiana and what is really interesting is that a number of companies from a number of countries, both in the developed and developing worlds are now investing in the United States, because they find that investing in the United States a) gives them really good returns because the United States has a very good kind of business climate and a great market. Two, even more importantly, it allows them to pick up technologies and processes, and capabilities that make them globally competitive. So that’s just an example of an investment from Africa in the United States. So just as we promote our companies investing in Africa we are very desirous of African companies investing in the United States and making this a two-way street.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you. Do you have any final words Assistant Secretary Kumar, before we close out the call today?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KUMAR:  I would say thank you for the very engaging questions. We are very excited about Africa. That’s why we’re here with the trade mission.  And as I mentioned, especially in answer to one of the questions, this is not the first and this is not the last. There will be many more. We are looking forward to a very intense commercial engagement with Africa that will create jobs in both our countries and that will create increased prosperity both in the continent of Africa and in the United States. Thank you.

MODERATOR:    Thank you and that concludes today’s call. I want to thank Assistant Secretary Kumar for joining us and to thank all of our callers for participating. If you have questions about today’s call, please contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at afmediahub@state.gov.  Thank you.

AUDIO: https://soundcloud.com/africa-regional-media-hub/telephonic-media-briefing-with-assistant-secretary-for-global-markets-arun-kumar