Posted at 8:00 AM
Thank you Congressman Ellison for the kind introduction. MBDA certainly enjoys working with you to the benefit of our MBDA Business Center in Minneapolis and appreciates your leadership on this important issue. For the last 43 years, the Minority Business Development Agency has been the only federal agency specifically tasked to support the growth and global expansion of minority-owned businesses, and serves minority entrepreneurs across the country.
MBDA helps minority-owned firms create jobs, impact local economies and compete successfully in domestic and global marketplaces. In a nutshell, we provide access to capital, access to contracts, and access to market; and that is what I would like to focus on today. We encourage our clients to explore new markets in their communities, regions and even globally.
More than 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside the borders of the United States ….and MBDA can help you reach those markets. Through the National Export Initiative which focuses on doubling exports over the next five years, minority firms are being recruited to go global. In fact, minority-owned businesses are twice as likely to generate sales through exports compared to non-minority-owned firms and will play a large role in this Initiative. And they have a competitive export advantage due in large part to language capabilities, cultural compatibility and business agility.
MBDA works closely with the International Trade Administration, our sister agency, to promote business-to-business partnerships between U.S. minority-owned firms and firms in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. These are markets minority-owned firms should consider in their growth strategy.
MBDA is particularly focused on assisting firm’s access markets on the continent of Africa because of their rapidly growing economies and increasing opportunities for American firms. According to The Economist six of the world’s fastest growing economies between 2001 and 2010 were in Africa and by 2015 they will occupy 7 spots. Angola (1), Nigeria (4), Ethiopia (5), Chad (7), Mozambique (8), Rwanda (10).
Though the common misconception is that the opportunities for investment in Africa lay mainly in the agricultural sphere, the continent is ripe with opportunities for U.S. manufacturers to seize. As an example, in 2011 The Government of Nigeria budgeted $1 billion for aviation industry procurements, such as ground support equipment, passenger screening and navigational equipment with a focus on U.S. based products. Angola is currently the second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with average production for 2011 of 1.7 million barrels per day. Sonangol, Angola’s state-owned oil company plans to build a 200,000 barrel per day oil refinery in Lobito. They awarded a contract, but construction has stalled due to financing problems. This represents a need and an opportunity for a U.S. firm to export its services.
Further it is projected that by 2050, Africa’s population will reach 3 billion people, larger than that of India, China and Brazil. This is an exploding consumer market. MBDA is ready to assist you access these markets and take advantage of these opportunities. We are already aggressively working with our clients to send their products and services to the continent. In 2011, in partnership with Navistar and Cummins Engine, MBDA attended a Business Investment and Opportunity Mission hosted by the South African Department of Trade and Industry. The goal of this mission was to create U.S. jobs and provide a platform for international partnerships.
This mission provided MBDA clients direct exposure to over $100 million in contract opportunities with U.S. firms already doing business in the country. I would also like to inform you of an upcoming trade mission to South Africa and Zambia led by our partners at ITA. The purpose of this trade mission is to deepen trade ties with South Africa and to explore export opportunities to Zambia. The Commerce Department will help U.S. firms find customers and business partners in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and Ndola and Lusaka, Zambia.
Targeted sectors for the trade mission are:
Electric Power and Energy Efficiency Technologies, Equipment and Services
Productivity Enhancing Agricultural Technologies and Equipment
Transportation Equipment and Infrastructure
Mining Equipment and Technology
Through its public and private strategic partnerships and the nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers, the Agency is in a position to help you broaden your business and expand your operations. All you need to do is engage us.
Thank you and I look forward to your questions.