Statement by Florizelle (Florie) Liser, President & CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
As an organization that has been promoting U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and business engagement for more than twenty years, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) joins many others in repudiating the negative comments allegedly made by President Trump about African and other nations and the value of African immigrants to the United States. Africa is a vibrant continent of 54 nations that is important to the U.S. economically, politically, socially, and strategically.
According to the recently released National Security Strategy of the United States, “Africa contains many of the world’s fastest growing economies, which represent potential new markets for U.S. goods and services.” This is exactly what CCA supports and promotes on behalf of its more than 140 member companies – both U.S. and African, multinationals and SMEs. CCA member companies are actively engaged in sectors ranging from petroleum, power, IT, and health to agribusiness, value added manufacturing, and financial and other services. These companies are benefiting from improved governance and rule of law across the continent, regulations that have improved the environment for doing business, and a rate of return on investment that is higher than in most of regions of the world. Additionally, the degree of security cooperation the United States enjoys with numerous countries in Africa enhances our own security as well as underwrites a more secure environment for pursuing mutual political, economic and business interests. Many CCA member companies and others are convinced that the African market represents a unique opportunity for growth and expansion, and will play a critical role in their “bottom lines”.
CCA’s incredibly talented staff includes many young diaspora African interns, analysts, and experts who drive the U.S.-Africa economic and commercial relationship through policy analysis, trade missions to and from the continent, and support for U.S. and African business leaders as they seek to navigate new investments and business ventures. However, finding competent, well-educated Africans to work at CCA is no chance matter. In its 2016 report, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) indicates that “sub-Saharan African immigrants have much higher education attainment compared to the overall foreign and native-born populations.” In 2015, according to MPI, 39 percent of sub-Saharan Africans have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 29 percent of the total foreign-born population, and compared to the total foreign-born population were much more likely to be employed in management, business, science, and arts occupations.
These are only some of the reasons why CCA strongly believes in the promise of Africa – its nations and people – and remains committed to promoting greater U.S.-Africa economic and business engagement.