…Mayor of Houston tells US investors
The Mayor of the city of Houston in Texas, Sylvester Turner has encouraged US firms and businesses to reach out to the vast African market which abounds with trade and investment opportunities.
African Development Bank data reveal that external shocks have reduced the continent’s real GDP growth from 4.8 percent in 2021 to 3.8 percent in 2022. However, African economies remain resilient, with average growth projected to stabilize at 4.1 percent in 2023–24. Africa is estimated to have a population of 2 billion.
Trade in goods between Ghana and the United States of America reached an all-time high of US$3.7billion in 2022, with the country boasting a favourable balance of trade according to a fact sheet of the US Embassy in Accra.
Ghana’s exports to the US in 2022 amounted to US$2.7billion. Main exports from the country included: crude oil, cocoa (beans, paste and butter), apparel, rubber and cassava, among others.
According to Mayor Turner, there are huge opportunities to engage with Africa. Speaking in a podcast interview back home in the US with Veriten [ a media and research firm] he said US firms should not wait till it’s late, stressing “I would strongly encourage American companies and interests to look to Africa”.
Mayor Turner and a 30-man delegation of the city’s business and government leaders recently led a trade mission to West Africa visiting Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana.
Their mission focused on finding new economic opportunities for Houston companies in Africa, continuing to grow the cultural and civic engagement between Houston and Africa, and expanding opportunities for overall collaboration with African nations.
For him, Africa is open to business, “They need investments, partners, they want opportunities to sit down and say how can we make this a win-win relationship.”
He also added that Africa “does not want to feel they are being taken advantage of and people are recognizing they are mineral rich, the resource is there to come and take but the status remains the same, f businesses and supply chains are coming in then they are receptive of that.”
Mayor Turner also indicated that of all the three countries he visited the problems were virtually the same.
Ghana and others need energy presence
Further, Mayor Turner maintained that all three countries particularly Ghana were open to energy companies coming on board to explore opportunities.
“They are encouraging upgraded relationships in the energy sector, Ghana same thing, they want to see energy presence, and energy companies present, meeting with Chevron was very helpful but they are looking for others as well.
You looking at a continent with 2 billion people, a very young population, and the minerals and the world located on this continent, I think we would make a huge mistake by waiting, I think you do business with those who show up” he said.
By Eugene Davis