WASHINGTON — President Obama, who held a roundtable with U.S. and African chief executive officers in Tanzania on Monday, unveiled a new trade initiative with several sub-Saharan African countries in an effort to boost commerce between African nations and the U.S.
The “Trade Africa” plan will first focus on the five states of the East African Community — Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — but officials expect to broaden its scope in the future.
The goal of the initiative is to increase imports to the U.S. from the EAC by 40 percent, reduce transport time by 15 percent from the ports to landlocked Burundi and Rwanda and decrease by 30 percent the average time a truck takes to get through select borders.
“I see Africa as the world’s next major economic success story,” Obama said. “And the United States wants to be a partner in that success.”
“The entire GDP [gross domestic product] of sub-Saharan Africa is still less than $2 trillion, which is about the same as Italy,” he said. “Our entire trade with Africa is about the same as our trade with Brazil or South Korea, countries with a fraction of Africa’s population. Of all our exports to the world, only about 2 percent goes to Africa.”
The “vast majority” of U.S. trade in Africa is with three countries — South Africa, Nigeria and Angola — under the African Growth & Opportunity Act, and the U.S. needs to “broaden that,” Obama said.
Overall trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled over the last decade. The U.S. exports about $22 billion in goods and imports $50 billion, primarily oil and minerals. Textiles and apparel accounted for $881 million in exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S.
As part of the plan, the U.S. is launching a trade facilitation agreement with the EAC and expanding cooperation on regulatory issues. The country is also establishing a new U.S.-EAC Commercial Dialogue to bring the private sector together with policy makers, transforming U.S.-Africa trade hubs into “U.S. trade and investment” centers to provide an array of information, services and risk mitigation and financing. In addition, the U.S. is advancing the “Doing Business in Africa” campaign to encourage American businesses to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities on the continent, while promoting trade missions, trade shows and business-to-business matchmaking in key sectors.
“We’re focused on specific goals — so moving goods faster between ports like Dar es Salaam and Mombasa to Burundi and Rwanda in the interior, or reducing the wait times that truckers endure at the border, increasing East African exports to the United States under AGOA by 40 percent and not simply increasing trade within East Africa [but] doubling it — that’s our aim,” the President said. “We intend this to be the foundation for similar progress regionally that we can do across the continent in years to come.”
Obama added that Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will lead a major trade mission to Africa in her first year, and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit the region, as well.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye