US companies falling behind during Africa's explosive economic growth
August 7, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
WASHINGTON -- As Africa's economy rises, American businesses are at risk of being left behind.
“We are missing the boat” was the sour warning former President Bill Clinton issued Tuesday at an otherwise upbeat U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit here.
Sub-Saharan Africa has enjoyed nearly 6-percent annual economic growth for the past decade. And the robust expansion is expected to endure through the decade. Ernst & Young calls Africa the world's second-most attractive market for investment behind North America.
Yet as Africa gains momentum, U.S. business activity there has all but stalled. U.S. direct investment in Africa essentially flat-lined between 2010 and 2012, according to United Nations numbers crunched by the Brookings Institution.
Over the same period, China (with investment up 68 percent) and the European Union (up 8 percent) poured money into a region they see as rich with natural resources and economic potential. U.S. corporate profits in Africa fell in 2013 for a second straight year.