One of the most important opportunities to emerge from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was the Obama Administration’s commitment to increasing the counseling and technical assistance provided to U.S. private sector companies who are looking to do business in Africa. Several recent Commerce Department announcements related to Mozambique indicate that that country is a priority market for the Administration.
Starting in January 2015, newly appointed Senior Commercial Officer for Mozambique Jane Kitson will take up her post in Maputo. A veteran of the U.S. Commercial Service and former Senior Commercial Officer for Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Ms. Kitson will be “responsible for opening the U.S. Commercial Service office in Maputo and for promoting U.S. exports to this new emerging market.” This development is welcome progress on the Commerce Department’s announcement earlier this year that its International Trade Administration “will more than double its presence in Africa, opening their first-ever offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.”
Mozambique also features in two of the Trade Missions that the Commerce Department is organizing for 2015. In the first half of 2015, there will be a Trade Mission to Mozambique, Kenya, and South Africa. Focusing on the energy equipment and services, transportation infrastructure and equipment, agricultural equipment, and medical technologies sectors, the Mission “will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners; meetings with national and regional government officials, chambers of commerce, and business groups; and networking receptions.”
In the second half of 2015, the Trade Winds-Africa Business Development Conference and Trade Mission will include a stop in Mozambique as well as Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. In addition to the Trade Missions to Mozambique and these other countries, 2015 Trade Winds-Africa “will feature an Africa focused business forum, consisting of regional and industry specific conference sessions as well as pre-arranged consultations with U.S. Senior Government Diplomats representing commercial markets from 19 different countries throughout the region.”
A country whose transition from conflict to frontier economy has been described by the World Bank as “nothing short of impressive,” Mozambique holds considerable promise for investors from a variety of industries. U.S. companies interested in this market would do well to avail themselves of the assistance being provided by the Commerce Department and other agencies.