President Makha Sy,
Scott Eisner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
Thank you for inviting me today and for the warm welcome. As you know, the U.S. Chamber is the premier business organization in the U.S. and the world’s largest business organization with more than three million members.
For many years, the U.S. Chamber has worked with AmCham Senegal and other affiliated American Chambers of Commerce in the region to support U.S. companies.
Scott Eisner is visiting to follow up on the U.S.-ECOWAS Business Initiative that was launched by the U.S. Chamber in September with the overall aim of increasing U.S. trade and investment with West Africa.
Scott will provide more details on this initiative which involves mobilizing the business communities in the U.S. and West Africa to participate in task forces on key economic sectors in this region.
At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Forum, President Obama placed trade and investment at the center of his agenda.
Under the expansion of the President’s Trade Africa Initiative, we are providing support to ECOWAS to reduce regional barriers to trade and investment; and we signed an MOU last July with Senegal to build capacity for trade and investment in Senegal.
The 10-year extension of AGOA this year offers a significant opportunity to attract greater investment in West Africa.
As leader of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and ECOWAS, President Sall has advocated for development of regional infrastructure and reduction of barriers to regional trade and investment.
Senegal is well-positioned to build on its role as a regional business hub and the U.S. Chamber can play a key role in working with AmCham Senegal and other counterparts to identify practical ways to facilitate greater trade and investment.
While we diplomats discuss trade and investment policy issues, you represent the companies that are working every day to increase our trade and investment in West Africa.
You understand better than anyone, the opportunities and challenges involved in doing business here.
I encourage you to draw on this collective wisdom to contribute to this initiative.
We stand ready to support these efforts.