U.S.-Africa Business Summit: Three Questions to President of Corporate Council on Africa

In an interview to MAP, Florizelle Liser, president and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), initiator of the Summit, spokes of the themes and challenges of this 16th edition and the close partnership with Morocco, host of the 14th edition in 2022 in Marrakesh. 

She also discussed the growth potential on the continent and the role of the private sector and public-private partnership for sustainable development.

Florizelle Liser is the first woman to lead the Council since its creation in 1993. She notably served as Deputy United States Trade Representative for Africa.


1- What assessment do you make of your partnership with Morocco and Moroccan-American trade relations?

In 2019, CCA was thrilled when the Kingdom of Morocco offered to host the 2020 U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Marrakesh. I had the honor to work with Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, Ambassador of Morocco to the U.S. who galvanized her team in Washington as well as an outstanding inter-ministerial team in Rabat and the Moroccan private sector in Casablanca to ensure the success of the 14th edition of the CCA U.S.-Africa Business Summit.  

Though the COVID pandemic delayed us until 2022, the Summit – held under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, was a huge success, highlighted by the video welcome of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris who announced that the United States would be hosting the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022.

CCA was pleased to co-host the U.S.- Africa Business Forum as an official part of the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Our Summit in Botswana in 2023 and this year’s Summit in Dallas, Texas have built on the success of the Leaders Summit- bringing back together the largest gathering of U.S. and African government and private sector leaders to focus on strengthening the U.S.-Africa economic relationship.  

As the United States’ only FTA partner in Africa and the largest investor in sub-Saharan Africa, we are really pleased to welcome a high level delegation to this year’s Summit in Dallas led by Minister Mohcine Jazouli.  


2- What are the main topics to be discussed at the Summit and how do you intend to contribute to promoting the USA-Africa partnership?


CCA’s 16th U.S.-Africa Business Summit will feature high level discussions by U.S. and African government and private sector leaders on the key issues and sectors impacting trade, investment, and business between the United States and the nations of Africa. This includes sectors that are driving economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic from agribusiness, aviation, energy and health to critical minerals, ICT/digital, sports and the creative economy.

 The Summit’s nearly 1500 participants including 8 African Heads of State, Ministers, U.S. Cabinet and other senior officials as well as U.S. and African CEOs and other executives will also discuss key African and U.S. initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, Prosper Africa, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Special sessions on SMEs and women’s empowerment will highlight stakeholders that are key to economic growth in both the U.S and its African partners. 

U.S. financing agencies including the Export Import Bank, Development Finance Corporation along with international finance institutions such as the African Development Bank, Trade and Development Bank and Africa 50 will discuss financing of major infrastructure and other projects with institutional investors, private equity firms, and fund managers and corporate investors who will be attending the Summit.

The Summit’s aim is to not only promote dialogue but to advance U.S.-Africa business partnerships, transactions and joint ventures that will promote economic growth and prosperity for both Americans and Africans. While African nations have been hit by multiple challenges stemming from the COVID pandemic, rising and volatile commodity prices, and fallout from the Ukraine and Gaza crises, Summit participants are focused on the collaborative efforts that can address these challenges and more importantly on the significant and growing opportunities the African market offers to U.S. government and private sector partners.


3- A fast-growing Africa is offering immense potential. Yet, the narrative about the continent is often negative and lopsided. How do forums like these help shift the pattern?


The CCA U.S.-Africa Business Summit is a unique platform and opportunity to focus on the U.S.-Africa economic relationship and the opportunities of growing trade, investment and business engagement.  

Though there are many U.S. businesses and investors in Africa, there is much room to grow U.S. trade with and investment in Africa. Perceptions of risk in Africa are not aligned with the true or real risks, and many American businesses are more closely assessing risks, impressive returns, and effective risk mitigation tools that are available from the U.S. as well as African institutions.  

CCA is proud that throughout our more than 30-year history, we have been highlighting the trade, investment and business opportunities in Africa and thus changing the narrative about Africa and its prospects.


Under the theme “U.S.-Africa Business: Partnering for Sustainable Success”, heads of state and government, economic operators from the American and African public and private sectors, including Morocco, are meeting, as of today Monday in Dallas, Texas, for a summit aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two sides of the Atlantic.
06 mai 2024