U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is leading 20 American companies on an Energy Business Development trade mission to West Africa, specifically to Ghana and Nigeria. Secretary Pritzker arrived in Lagos on Tuesday for a three-day visit. This Trade Mission will promote U.S. exports and expand U.S. companies’ presence in Africa by helping American firms launch or increase their business in the energy sector. The firms joining the mission have the expertise that will help African countries develop and manage energy resources and systems, as well as build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.
“In line with President Obama’s U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, this mission is an opportunity to connect U.S. company products, services and expertise to support Africa’s enormous power potential,” said Secretary Pritzker. “One of the Commerce Department’s bottom-line goals is to increase the global fluency of U.S. businesses and make trade and investment a bigger part of the U.S. economy’s DNA. Trade missions like these are one way of accomplishing these priorities.”
The President approved the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Sub-Saharan Africa on June 14, 2012, which has become known as the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. The Strategy recognizes that Africa holds the promise to be “the world’s next major economic success story,” and this is the first time that promoting U.S. trade and investment has been a cornerstone of a PPD on Sub-Saharan Africa.
With more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, the power development challenge is enormous. More than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, including more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas. According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa needs more than $300 billion in investments to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 – far beyond the capacity of any traditional development program.