Plans are underway for the first ever Trade Expo Africa (TEXA), a B2B trade show, dedicated to African small business owners and business professionals in Houston Texas, in October this year. TEXA also aims to boost export opportunities in Africa by leveraging on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is a United States Trade Act, enacted on 18 May 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress.
The purpose of this legislation is to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and these regions with the possibility of exporting qualifying products into the USA duty free.
According to the founder, Yinka Thomas-Ogboja, “Forums such as this enable us to consolidate efforts to contribute to the growth and development of Africa’s economy by increasing trade relations among African countries and the USA.
“We are proud of who we are as Africans, where we are and more importantly, where we are headed. In April 2015, the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa predicted that over the next 20 years, sub-Saharan Africa will become the main source of new entrants in to the global labour force,” Thomas-Ogboja said.
While encouraging both individuals and companies to take advantage of the endless possibilities the trade expo offers, she went on to explain that Botswana and South Africa are the two biggest exporting countries in Africa but TEXA aims to encourage more countries to hop on the bus and reduce heavy reliance on importation.
“We are excited about the opportunities inherent as participating SMEs with export oriented products and services will find this expo rewarding. We are our greatest asset and together we can make a difference. Let us stay focused and positive as we shape and reshape the future of AFRICA,” she said.
Adding that, “Project Prime International (PPI) is pleased to host this event, which is designed to showcase and promote Africa’s Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) seeking market penetration into the United States of America and other African Countries.
Explaining the justification for hosting the trade expo, Thomas-Ogboja said, “African governments need to integrate entrepreneurship more fully into their industrialisation strategies (African Development Bank, 2017). Foreign direct investment, attracted by the continent’s emerging markets and fast urbanization, stood at USD 56.5 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 57 billion in 2017.
“Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent, with the youngest population compared to other continents. The key to successful development in Africa is to nurture the emerging culture of entrepreneurship and the continuous empowerment of regional SMEs. Roughly 31% of U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa went to South Africa in 2015, and 19% to Nigeria.
“The top U.S. export markets in Sub-Saharan Africa for 2015 were: South Africa ($5.5 billion), Nigeria ($3.4 billion), Ethiopia ($1.6 billion), Angola ($1.2 billion), and Kenya ($937 million). While this impacts the U.S. economy significantly, it is imperative to create platforms that in return will boost African economies, promote bilateral trade with the U.S., and increase trade relations amongst African Countries,” she said.