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On Saturday, Deputy Secretary Don Graves concluded his travels to West Africa, where he met with representatives from the governments of Côte d’Ivoire & Ghana, participated in key commercial forums driving investment and creating opportunities for U.S. businesses across Africa, and engaged with private sector and NGO representatives.

Between June 11-15, Deputy Secretary Graves traveled to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where he participated in the Africa CEO Forum, the largest annual gathering of the African private sector, with attendance from heads of state, international investors and executives, and global financial institutions. At the Forum, Deputy Secretary Graves emphasized the long and rich history of U.S. partnership with African countries and the Biden Administration’s commitment to expanding and enhancing those relationships for the long term. He highlighted the role the U.S. private sector can play, as partners of choice for African governments and businesses, in advancing African economic development objectives. He outlined efforts the Biden Administration is focused on that will advance U.S. commercial relationships across Africa, including the Partnership for Global Infrastructure with G7 partners, an upcoming new White House initiative to support the digital sector in Africa, the White House’s Prosper Africa initiative, and the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to be hosted by President Biden that will include a U.S.-Africa Business Forum organized by the Department of Commerce and Prosper Africa Secretariat. He also informed participants that Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo will soon be making new appointments of private-sector representatives to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA).

Deputy Secretary Graves met with members of the American and Ivoirian business community, including a meeting with Ivoirian women leaders from across the private, public, and NGO sectors. Hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Richard Bell, this event allowed the Deputy Secretary to gather input and suggestions from participants on ways the U.S. Government, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, and public and private financing institutions might partner to better support women’s economic empowerment in the country and across the continent.

Deputy Secretary Graves held bilateral meetings with the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and Prime Minister Patrick Achi. In both meetings, the Deputy Secretary expressed his appreciation for Côte d’Ivoire’s support for Ukraine and its condemnation of Russia’s unlawful aggression against a sovereign member of the United Nations. He also encouraged the leaders’ participation at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and Business Forum that President Biden will host in the United States. Over a series of engagements between Deputy Secretary Graves and Prime Minister Achi, the two leaders affirmed mutual commitment to long-term partnership across a range of shared interests, especially regarding bilateral trade and investment, including supporting private sector development in Côte d’Ivoire and partnering with U.S. companies to execute commercial projects in Côte d’Ivoire through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire bilateral commercial memorandum of understanding that has been in effect since 2018. The Deputy Secretary also met with Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Commerce, the leadership of the African Development Bank, and was joined by a delegation of U.S. companies led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center for a joint meeting with the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and other senior trade officials from the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to discuss how the U.S. private sector can support the goals of Côte d’Ivoire’s National Development Plan.

On June 15, Deputy Secretary Graves departed from Abidjan and traveled to Accra, Ghana. During his time in Accra, the Deputy Secretary provided keynote remarks, alongside Ghana’s Minister of Finance, at the U.S.-Ghana Business Forum organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Deputy Secretary highlighted opportunities for strengthening U.S.-Africa trade presented by implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the unique opportunity to work together on connecting the large African diaspora in the United States to commercial opportunities in Ghana and across the Continent, and the Biden Administration’s commitment to supporting inclusive and long-term economic recovery and resiliency. He also joined the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, for a discussion with U.S. business executives, including from the local U.S. business community as well as those that traveled to Ghana as part of a delegation led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on how the Commerce Department and U.S. Government can support increased U.S. commercial engagement in the country.

In Accra, Deputy Secretary Graves met bilaterally with Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Minister of Finance, and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry to discuss opportunities for the Commerce Department to deepen targeted collaboration with each ministry, with a focus on setting and executing concrete objectives. He also held a bilateral meeting with Ghana’s Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia to re-affirm the United States’ commitment to deepening our countries’ bilateral trade and investment engagement, especially in the digital sector and through youth, through the U.S.-Ghana commercial memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2018 by Ghana’s President and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

“The Biden Administration places tremendous importance on developing deeper relationships with African countries that are based on mutual respect, which enables us to work together to overcome short-term challenges while building towards long-term economic resiliency and prosperity,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “I look forward to continuing the collaborations that have been underway for decades, including advancing new means of partnership and identifying additional areas of collaboration in the future. Finally, I would like to commend President Ouattara, Prime Minister Achi, President Akufo-Addo, and Vice President Bawumia, along with my Ivoirian and Ghanaian counterparts and our private sector partners for an excellent series of meetings on my first of what I hope will be many trips to the continent.”

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