Africa Trade and Investment Programme office opened in Accra
USAID Africa Bureau has opened one of its Africa Trade and Investment (ATI) programme offices in Accra.
Being the fourth and final regional programme office on-continent, it is meant to be a strong testament to the agency’s commitment to work with private sector firms across Africa to boost their business eminence and position them as attractive, equal trade and investment partners.
Opened last Thursday, it is in support of Prosper Africa’s goals of increasing trade and investment to and from Africa and the United States.
Prosper Africa is the White House initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and African countries.
The West Africa Regional Office, USAID’s Trade Team Lead, Patterson Brown, said at the launch that: “The USAID Africa Trade and Investment programme approach is not a one size fits all. Because something has worked in Tanzania or Zambia, does not mean it will be successful in Burkina Faso or Ghana.”
According to him, the programme analyses to build a deep understanding of the local landscape that is used to design trade and investment opportunities to be responsive to local needs and constraints, while building off lessons learned from across the continent.
For his part, Managing Director of African Operations for Prosper Africa, Brinton Bohling, indicated that a lot of the initiative’s thinking had been on how to work with the USAID Regional Missions to better what was previously achieved with the trade hubs.
He encouraged creative and synergistic collaboration so that the missions can leverage regional resources with central funding under the USAID Africa Trade and Investment programme that seeks to deliver on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA.)
Since its inception in September 2021, the ATI programme has generated thousands of jobs across the African continent and within the United States, delivering billions in exports and investments, mobilising private-sector-driven solutions and creating healthy business environments.
To achieve this, the programme applies a sector-agnostic, continental approach, representing a fundamental shift in how USAID normally programmes resources.
Supply chains cut across regions and countries, with the private sector evaluating the opportunities of markets.
Critically, the programme mirrors the private sector’s approach and enables USAID to be more responsive to private sector needs than ever.
The choice to position the ATI programme in Ghana is a strategic one because the country is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world according to a release.
Trade accounts for 90 per cent of Ghana’s gross domestic product, but there are many opportunities to increase the competitiveness of Ghanaian firms, particularly within the agri-food sector, which could create more jobs, reduce inequities and increase household incomes.
In West Africa, the ATI programme is already working in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Niger, Ghana and Liberia.
In Niger, the programme will address food security and resilience challenges by strengthening Niger’s financial sector and enabling access to capital and inputs for farmers.
In Liberia, the ATI programme is advancing opportunities for partnership that will grow the commercial agricultural sector, especially for women and youth.
The programme will also improve investment in productivity and commercialisation of Liberian agribusinesses.