The U.S. government says it will embark on a global entity of trade enterprise with African nations, including South Africa and Ghana, but it is sceptical about Nigeria due to the country’s foreign currency rate barrier.
The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA) disclosed this in a statement published on the U.S. government federal register in February.
According to the statement, the ITA will be responsible for recruiting, organising and implementing the global trade mission between August 6-15, 2023.
The U.S. government explained that after its mission in South Africa, it would move to Ghana, a West African nation, where its mission would participate in a prearranged Business to Business (B2B) meeting manufacturing facilities in ICT and safety and security sectors.
It, however, said its mission would not be discussing business with Ghanaian automotive imports, given the government’s recent regulations imposing additional tariffs on automotive imports.
“After South Africa, the mission will proceed to Ghana in West Africa,” it said. “In Ghana, mission participants will have the opportunity to participate in pre-arranged B2B meetings with potential partners and customers, as well as a potential site visit to a manufacturing facility.”
It added, “Given recent government regulations imposing additional tariffs on automotive imports, this sector is no longer considered viable for American automotive exporters. Companies involved in ICT and Safety & Security will be better situated for B2B meetings in Ghana.”
Regarding the Nigeria mission, the U.S. government announced that it would have an optional two-day stop in Nigeria following a weekend vacation after its trip from Ghana.
It added that it would host a business-to-business conference with the appropriate business players because several of the mission’s target industries suffer hurdles to foreign exchange that make it challenging for them to access and compete in the Nigerian market.
“After Ghana, mission participants have the option to proceed to the optional stop in Nigeria for two days after a weekend break. In Nigeria, participants will have B2B meetings with potential partners and customers.
“This stop will be optional as some of the target sectors for this mission face foreign exchange barriers, making it difficult to enter and compete in the Nigerian market.
“It is noted that some consumer goods, including textiles and cosmetics/toiletries, are among the products that face this difficulty. The mission will conclude in Nigeria,” the U.S. statement read.
To combat inflation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which measures interest rates, from 16.5 per cent to 17.5 per cent in January.
Five months later, the CBN launched a free-floating exchange rate mechanism for the naira to loosen its grip on the currency. As of Thursday, the naira was trading at a record low of N860 per dollar on the black market.