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HomeNewsDeputy Secretary Graves Attends AGOA Forum to Advance U.S.-Africa Commercial Ties

Deputy Secretary Graves Attends AGOA Forum to Advance U.S.-Africa Commercial Ties

From November 1-5, 2023, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa for the 20th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum as a member of the U.S. delegation led by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The AGOA Forum brought together the United States and AGOA-eligible countries along with representatives from key regional economic organizations and stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and labor to discuss how to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The Deputy Secretary was accompanied by members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA).  

To kick-off the week’s events, Deputy Secretary Graves played a leading role in a Private Sector Forum, an event aimed at fostering business-to-business commercial partnerships between the United States and African countries. He announced the first-of-its-kind Department of Commerce Africa strategy, which includes a pilot trade promotion initiative focused on cosmetics in South Africa. He also toured the site of U.S. company Equinix’s new Johannesburg-based data center site, a $160 million investment that serves as an example of how U.S. companies are making private investments that support Africa’s digital transformation.  

During the AGOA Ministerial, the Deputy Secretary co-chaired sessions on digital trade and on the future of U.S.-Africa trade relations. He also held bilateral meetings with several African partners including Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa Ebrahim Patel, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat Wamkele Mene, Secretary of State for Industry and Commerce of Angola Amadeu Leitao Nunes, and Minister of Commerce and Industry of Côte d’Ivoire Souleymane Diarrassouba. to discuss our bilateral commercial partnerships. The Deputy Secretary hosted a dinner with African partner countries with whom the Department has bilateral commercial MOUs, along with members of the PAC-DBIA, to discuss lessons learned and future priorities.