WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Tuesday said President Obama will emphasize the importance of trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa as he kicks off his first extensive trip to the continent on Wednesday.
Froman, in his first public speech as USTR at a U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference here, said, “The stars are aligned in Africa for sustained economic growth and substantial reductions in poverty.”
Obama will visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania on the trip, accompanied by many administration officials, including Froman. American companies have invested $39.5 billion in sub-Saharan Africa, he said, and are beginning to “hear the call” of African leaders who like that American companies hire, train and promote local people, while investing in communities.
“There is a renewed and serious focus on regional integration and expanding intraregional trade to speed trade flows to, from and within Africa,” Froman said. “There is increased consideration of linking the existing free-trade areas…to create larger markets and economies of scale that can improve Africa’s global competitiveness.”
Seeking to increase business and financial investment, Froman will join Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the President, and others from the business community in Johannesburg this weekend in a high-level dialogue with leaders in banking and finance across Africa to “mobilize capital.” Obama will then convene a chief executive officer roundtable in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and give a major speech to a Business Forum on trade and investment and development in Africa.
“The East Africa Community will be a preliminary focus of this strategy, but we will also seek to work with other regional economic communities in Africa, and ultimately to support their efforts to create a continent-wide, integrated market,” Froman said. “Right now, red tape, roadblocks and redundant border procedures create lengthy transit times, which can make trade with and within Africa prohibitively expensive.”
The five EAC countries, which are also geographically in sub-Saharan Africa, are Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. Froman said the EAC has committed to creating a Customs union and the U.S. strategy will focus on moving toward single border crossing, harmonized Customs systems and better border infrastructure.
“So, we will work to increase EAC competitiveness, including by providing targeted technical assistance and capacity building at the local level, and will transform our trade hubs into trade and investment centers to provide information, advisory services and tools to encourage investment and two-way trade,” Froman said.
Under a U.S. preference program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the continent’s role in garment production has grown significantly. Erica Barks-Ruggles, the U.S. Consul General in Cape Town, recently said at the inaugural South Africa Trade Expo that textiles and apparel accounted for more than $850 million in exports from Africa to the U.S. in 2011, more than double the level of 2001, although it was down from the peak of $1.6 billion in 2004.
Froman, noting that AGOA is the “centerpiece” of U.S. trade policy with Africa, said that the administration committed earlier this year to “intensify discussions” with Congress and other stakeholders to ensure the renewal of AGOA before it expires in 2015.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)