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Doing Business In Africa

U.S. Government Assistance [>]
U.K. Government Assistance [>]
Canadian Government Assistance [>]
Non-Governmental Publications and Websites [>]
Satellite Telephony and Internet Connections in Remote Africa Locations [>]
Venture Capital [>]
Corporate Social Responsibility [>]

U.S. Government Assistance
Here are business development resources for U.S. Government assistance to those who would like to do business in Africa:

The Unites States Agency for International Development is part of the United States Government's effort to expand trade and investment partnerships with Africa.

Regional TRADE Hubs for Global Competitiveness:  Under the Trade for African Development and Enterprise (TRADE), USAID has established three Regional Hubs for Global Competitiveness located in Kenya, Ghana, and Botswana. Hub programs are designed to enhance Africa's trade competitiveness and enable eligible countries to take greater advantage of the increased trading opportunities provided through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and other global trade initiatives.

OSDBU/MRC, The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Minority Resource Center:  The OSDBU/MRC is the initial point of contact at USAID for U.S. small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZone small businesses and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses. OSDBU/MRC is a small business advocacy and advisory office with the responsibility for ensuring that these enterprises receive access to USAID programs. The Office:

  • Serves as an information clearinghouse for U.S. small businesses.
  • Counsels small businesses on how to do business with USAID.
  • Examines USAID buying needs for possible set-asides for 8(a) and other small businesses prior to publication on the FedBizOpps website.
  • Reviews all prime contracts to identify subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.
  • Maintains the Vendor Database (formerly ACRIS). This is an automated database describing the capabilities of U.S. businesses and organizations interested in participating in agency sustainable development programs.
  • Sponsors outreach conferences on "How To Do Business with USAID," and participates in national, regional and local conferences sponsored by both private and public organizations.
  • Develops operations, systems, and procedures to optimize participation of U.S. small businesses in USAID development assistance activities.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000 is a road map for how the United States and Africa can tap the power of markets to improve the lives of their citizens. Matchmaker programs have been created for trade with 38 eligible countries.

Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
The CCA is a major partner of the AGOA. Their programs help match African and American companies in a variety of industry sectors.

U.S. Commercial Service, West and Central Africa
The U.S. Department of Commerce provides up to date information about West and Central Africa market research, matchmaking services and will locate the most qualified buyers and partners for your company.

U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was established as a development agency of the U.S. government in 1971. OPIC helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing the risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.

OPIC maintains "Information Gateway: Africa / Middle East" for the countries they can currently insure and finance projects for in the African and Middle Eastern countries and areas highlighted on their map. It covers so many areas, that any question you could have will most likely be answered by visiting the gateway. for U.S. Exporters is an online service of U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce that puts trade tools and specialists at your service. They will act as your online global business partner and connect you to thousands of qualified international buyers, distributors and agents with their online service. A $50 subscription to the service will allow you to:

  • Post your company profile for automatic matchmaking
  • Search for and email qualified international buyers
  • Receive email notices of new trade lead opportunities
  • Submit and respond to offers to sell your product
  • Conveniently track trade leads and matches in your "MyBuyUSA"

Non-U.S. companies may register for free to find thousands of qualified U.S. companies who are ready to do business with you through automated matchmaking and trade leads.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle income countries.The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.

The USTDA Pipeline is a bi-weekly email update providing timely timely information on USTDA activities by project and region that helps American manufacturers, suppliers, engineers, and contractors discover opportunities in international trade.

Trade Information Center (TIC)
The U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration's website is primarily for U.S. businesses engaged in exporting. The website's Africa Region Database contains country-specific information covering:

  • All Documents
  • Business Information
  • Business Travel & Etiquette
  • Customs Information & Import Documentation
  • FAQs
  • Financing Regulations & Contacts
  • General Economic Information
  • General Marketing Information
  • Hot News & Events
  • Key Contacts & Websites
  • Laws & Procedures for Licensing & Investing
  • Sectoral & Product Specific Information

The website also has on-line Country Commercial Guides for each African country that cover the following topics:

  • Executive Summary
  • Economic Trends And Outlook
  • Political Environment
  • Marketing Us Products And Services
  • Leading Sectors For Us Exports And Investments
  • Trade Regulations, Customs And Standards
  • Investment Climate Statement
  • Trade And Project Financing
  • Business Travel
  • Economic And Trade Statistics
  • Us And Country Contacts
  • Market Research
  • Trade Event Schedule
  • Full Text Ccg & Pdf

The 2003-2004 Export Programs Guide can be downloaded from this website. This guide is the U.S. government's most comprehensive and widely distributed export resource, containing a listing of all federal government programs that aid U.S. companies in exporting their goods and services around the world. Nineteen different agencies have united to offer this publication. Contact information and hyperlinks are included. The downloadable Acrobat PDF version is not continually updated, but the on-line version is.

UK Government Assistance
Trade Partners UK
Trade Partners UK is a section of OpportunityAfrica website, is the informational website for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) through Trade Partners UK, providing support to UK exporters.

In addition, the OpportunityAfrica website has an extensive list of relevant websites in the African Export Links page, covering:

  • UK Government Institutions
  • African Regional Sites
  • Multilateral Development Aid Agencies
  • Telephone Directories on the Web
  • Media and Press sites
  • Travel Help
  • Trade Fairs and Exhibitions
  • Telecommunications
  • Country Specific Sites

Canadian Government Assistance
Team Canada Inc. is a partnership of federal, provincial and territorial governments helping Canadian companies succeed in world markets. Their website,, covers the following topics:

  • Preparing to Export
  • Marketing Your Exports
  • Export Financing and Programs
  • Preventing and Resolving Problems
  • Market Research
  • Entering the Market
  • Taking Products and Services to Market
  • Understanding the Global Market Place

Team Canada also offers Going Global Workshops online.

Non-Governmental Web Sites and Publications
Here is a resource list of websites and publications about business, the economy and development projects in Africa:

Africa Development Bank Business Bulletin
The ADB Business Bulletin is the African Development Bank Group's procurement information magazine. It provides a full overview of the ADB Group procurement opportunities, consultants shortlists, contract awards and the project pipeline. ADB Business Bulletin is published 10 times a year (each month, except for January and September).

Development Gateway
The Development Gateway portal provides an online directory for information on international development projects (AiDA), Tenders and Procurement Opportunities Worldwide (dgMarket), information on major development topics (Topic Pages), and links to a growing network of country-level initiatives (Country Gateways). The Gateway is one of the key programs of the Development Gateway Foundation, a not-for profit organization dedicated to increasing government efficiency, improving public sector transparency and donor coordination, sharing knowledge for development, and empowering local communities.

The Development Executive Group
Expand your company's business with a membership in The Development Executive Group, whose diverse team is united in its singular mission: to serve dedicated professionals who implement international development projects. It is a membership organization serving firms, non-profit corporations, and individual professionals working in the international development market. Individual memebership is free. Companies and NGO's have a membership fee. Sign up for a free subscription to "The Global Development Briefing", read by 85,000 development professionals each week.

MBendi, Information for Africa, is an African website designed to assist business people to identify and research business opportunities in the country and industry sectors of their choice.

Satellite Telephony and Internet Connections in Remote Africa Locations
Danimex Communications Ltd.
Danimex Communications Ltd. is a global distributor of radio and satellite communications equipment with forty years of trade experience in Africa and ten years experience in solving advance communication problems for humanitarian organizations throughout the world. They offer a broad range of products and satellite services for truely global mobile voice, fax and internet service. They offer, too, products and solutions for your mobile office applications and for high-speed remote access to your corporate IT networks, regardless of local terrestial network availability or reliability. Africa satellite telephony rates are not as expensive as you might think.

Mobile Satellite Services
General information and a directory of available satellite services. This site provides hand set and systems cost comparisons, too.

Volunteers In Technical Assistance
Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) now provides humanitarian organizations with a low-cost option for their communication needs. The VITA-CONNECT network provides remote area users with basic data-only connectivity and a full range of information services for an annual cost share of $495. VITA'S arsenal of communications technologies includes a low-earth orbiting satellite, a series of independent short-wave packet radio systems, and an electronic message delivery system that uses existing telephone networks.

Africa Venture Capital
Modern Africa Fund Managers
Modern Africa Fund Managers is a U.S.-based company that combines its financial expertise with its understanding of the African markets to participate in this growing market. The Fund's capitalization is $110 million, comprised of $40 million of equity leveraged by $70 million of debt guaranteed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC is a self-sustaining federal agency that offers finance and insurance to U.S. businesses in developing countries. The fund will target co-investment opportunities in the following sectors: Telecommunications & Information Technologies, Agribusiness & Manufacturing and Financial Services.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Business and Human Rights Resource Center
The Business and Human Rights Resource Center is an independent organization in participation with Amnesty International Business Groups and leading academic institutions. The purpose of the Center is to promote greater awareness and discussion of important issues relating to business and human rights. There is an Africa country by country section in the web site that reports the relationship that opaque business practices of the munlitnational extactive industries have to human rights abuses. You will learn of some exemplary corporate citizens and some behaving badly, creating "economic violence" and privatized wars.

IFIwatchnet connects organizations worldwide which are monitoring international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank, the IMF, and regional development banks.

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