Corporate Council On Africa Looks To Promote U.S. Infrastructure Firms

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

The 6th U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Conference sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa will open today in Washington, D.C. and will focus on “Building Resilient Cities,” which will highlight how major metropolises in Africa are coping with rapid urbanization and will offer solutions for potable water, intermodal transportation, communication technology, and on and off grid electricity generation.

Scheduled immediately preceding the fall meeting at the World Bank, the conference will bring together African government officials, international infrastructure experts, and policy makers from the U.S. public and private sectors.

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is a non-profit, membership-based organization established in 1993 to promote business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa. CCA is the premier American organization devoted to U.S.-Africa business relations and includes as members more than 160 companies, which represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector.

Among the speakers at the conference will be former Malawi president Joyce Banda, representatives from the World Bank’s investment arm the International Finance Corporation, African Development Bank President Dr Donald Kaberuka and many others.

Speaking on women’s role in building capacity to promote infrastructure in Africa, Her Excellency Joyce Banda will draw from her experience as former president of Malawi and the founder of the National Association of Business Women  in the central African country.

David Picard, Caterpillar’s Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East, will bring both his and company’s experience to bear in leading the Infrastructure Conference discussion entitled “Laying the Foundations in Support of Africa’s Infrastructure Growth.”

Thursday morning will begin with a session featuring seven U.S. Government agencies presenting on how they can support American company operations in Africa. This session hosted: Export-Import Bank of the United States; Millennium Challenge Corporation; United States Agency for International Development; United States Africa Command; and United States Trade and Development Agency.

In August U.S. electronics giant General Electric pledged it will invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018 to boost infrastructure, worker skills and access to energy, an announcement timed to coincide with a U.S. summit meeting of nearly 50 African leaders.

U.S. companies still have opportunities to catch up to China, Europe and Japan, who have made bigger strides in investing in the fast-growing continent, GE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt was quoted by Reuters saying.

“The growth is real. I think, for American companies, this is an opportunity to seize upon,” Immelt said.

AFKInsider will be covering the event from location and will bring its readers salient issues discussed at the conference throughout this week. For more information on the conference visit  http://infra2014.africacncl.org.