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The US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is to lead 20 American companies on an Energy Business Development trade mission to West Africa.

A statement issued in Accra by Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and copied to the GNA on Wednesday said the mission would visit Ghana and Nigeria from May 18-23.

According to the statement the visit is to promote U.S. exports and expand U.S. companies’ presence in Africa by helping American firms launch or increase their business in the energy sector.

It said the firms joining the mission have the expertise to help African countries develop and manage energy resources and systems, as well as build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.

The statement said the fast-growing economies in Africa were a high priority for the Obama Administration and the Department of Commerce and that there was tremendous potential for U.S. companies to sell their goods and services in countries like Ghana and Nigeria, which have energy needs that US firms had the goods, services and expertise to address

“Expanding trade and investment is a critical tool for economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and trade missions to help grow U.S. exports,” the statement said.

It stated that Africa was home to seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, and helping U.S. business expand their presence in these African markets was a top priority for the Department of Commerce.

It said in the coming months, the Department’s International Trade Administration would more than double its presence in Africa, opening their first-ever offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Offices in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya will also be expanded.

With these critical investments, the Department of Commerce would be able to increase assistance to U.S. businesses navigating markets in Africa, and help them sell their goods and services in even more places around the world.

It said the President approved the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Sub-Saharan Africa on June 14, 2012, which has become known as the U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Strategy recognizes that Africa holds the promise to be “the world’s next major economic success story,” and this is the first time that promoting U.S. trade and investment has been a cornerstone of a PPD on Sub-Saharan Africa.

The statement said with more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to electricity, the power development challenge was enormous.

More than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, including more than 85 per cent of those living in rural areas.

It said according to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa needs more than $300 billion in investments to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 – far beyond the capacity of any traditional development programme.
Source: GNA

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