Created on July 3, 2013
President Obama believes sub-Saharan Africa could be the world’s next major economic success story. That is why in June 2012, he issued the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF) to escalate the U.S. efforts to stimulate economic growth, trade, and investment in the region. One year later, the President is in Africa to highlight our success under this strategy.
A key component of the President’s strategy is the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce in Johannesburg, South Africa last November. Its main objective is to bolster federal trade promotion and financing capabilities in order to help U.S. businesses obtain trade and investment opportunities. With these opportunities, the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa will continue to grow.
Since its unveiling, Commerce has been working alongside other federal agencies to encourage U.S. companies–with a focus on small- and medium- sized businesses and African Diaspora-owned business–to trade and invest in the region. A little more than six months into the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, we wanted to share some of successes with you.
The first of these developments was an online Africa Business Portal. This portal was created to give businesses the federal resources necessary to succeed in African markets, specifically with export and investment opportunities.
Created on July 3, 2013
Global investors are “rediscovering” the United States.
This week the consulting firm A.T. Kearney published its annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index. The Index surveys top executives from more than 300 leading global companies – representing more than $2 trillion in annual global revenue – on where they are directing their investment strategies. For the first time since 2001, the United States ranked #1 on this list, retaking the top spot!
The Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program has seen this trend coming through the work we conduct on a daily basis. Companies both large and small increasingly understand that the United States is the destination of choice for capital, and an unparalleled place to invest and do business.
Markets such as Brazil, Canada, China, and Europe will continue to receive significant cross-border investment. However, the survey suggests that the resurgence of investment in American manufacturing is not just a temporary trend but the new reality.
Created on July 2, 2013
What do the states of Montana, Vermont, New Mexico, Alaska, and Mississippi have in common? They are, according to a report published this spring by the Kauffman Foundation, Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 1996–2012, the states that posted the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity in 2012.
According to the Kauffman Foundation report:
• Montanans operate 530 businesses per 100,000 adults, Vermonters and New Mexicans operate 520 businesses per 100,000 adults, and Alaskans and Mississippians operate 430 businesses per 100,000 adults.
• A most important measure—the formation of businesses with employees—held steady from 2011 to 2012: At 0.11 percent (meaning 11 employer businesses per 100,000 individuals), an average of 193,000 new employer businesses were formed each quarter in 2012.
This is important, and good, news about our economy. And these states should be applauded for what they are doing to foster entrepreneurship, which is a driver of economic growth and prosperity.
Support for entrepreneurship is a central part of the Economic Development Administration’s mission as it works to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States.
• In Montana, the Montana Technology Enterprise Center in Missoula, with EDA assistance, is undertaking a major renovation of its business incubator and building a new pilot chemical processing plant to help technology start-up companies commercialize research.
Created on July 2, 2013
President Obama recently said sub-Saharan Africa is poised to be the world’s next greatest economic success story, with U.S. exports to Africa topping $21 billion a year. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, and enormous opportunities exist for U.S. companies to not only do well – but to do good.
That’s why then-Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank launched the Doing Business in Africa Campaign (DBIA) last November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The campaign furthers the President’s vision of more robust commercial engagement in sub-Saharan Africa by helping U.S. businesses benefit from the export and investment opportunities in the region.
President Obama said on the day of its launch, “Through the DBIA campaign, we are responding to the emergence of African regional economic communities, and working with our partners to deepen integration, reduce barriers to trade and investment, and support existing and new investments by American businesses.”
Created on June 26, 2013
Public data is a valuable national asset whose value is multiplied when it is made easily accessible to the public. For example, the public release of weather data from government satellites and ground stations generated an entire economic sector that today includes the Weather Channel, commercial agricultural advisory services, and new insurance options. Similarly, the decision by the U.S. Government to make the Global Positioning System (GPS), once reserved for military use, available for civilian and commercial access, gave rise to GPS-powered innovations ranging from aircraft navigation systems to precision farming to location-based apps, contributing tens of billions of dollars in annual value to the American economy.
The Department of Commerce makes available to small businesses economic data that are important for key business decisions such as where to locate, where to manufacture a product and where to sell that product.
For example, AmFor Electronics, a second-generation, family-owned manufacturer in Portland, Oregon, is the market leader in the manufacturing of alternator and starter testers, which are sold to auto parts stores, auto repair shops, and alternator and starter rebuilders. Using Commerce data like that available in the Assess Costs Everywhere tool, AmFor decided to enter the wire harness sector and chose to locate their manufacturing facility domestically rather than overseas because it provides a shorter turnaround times with fewer defects that ultimately leads to a reduction in costs. These successes have translated into new customers and the hiring of 50 employees.