Viewpoint: How the US will transform its investment role in Africa with a new $60 billion agency
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
By Jonathan Berman
Business between the US and Africa just took a step forward. Easy to miss amidst the partisan din of the approaching election, the US Senate passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, and it was signed into law Oct. 5. Despite the strong bipartisan support (93 of 99 senators voted for it) the act has its critics, in particular among libertarian conservatives.
In my view, the BUILD act brings the US-Africa business relationship from underground to above ground and may yet bring it to the cloud.
For at least thirty years, the US’s commercial relationship with Africa has been dominated by resources underground. Oil, gas and minerals account for about half of all US direct investment in Africa. There has been growth in almost every sector of Africa’s economy, but commercial relations with the US have been dominated by US engagement in natural resources.