[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
THE INCREASING AMERICAN JOBS THROUGH GREATER EXPORTS TO AFRICA ACT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA, GLOBAL HEALTH,
AND HUMAN RIGHTS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
APRIL 17, 2012
Serial No. 112-139
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey--
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California deceased 3/6/12 deg.
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
RON PAUL, Texas ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
MIKE PENCE, Indiana GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
JOE WILSON, South Carolina RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
CONNIE MACK, Florida ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TED POE, Texas DENNIS CARDOZA, California
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
DAVID RIVERA, Florida CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas KAREN BASS, California
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
ROBERT TURNER, New York
Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director
Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska KAREN BASS, California
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey--
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York deceased 3/6/12 deg.
ROBERT TURNER, New York RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State,
Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State............ 7
The Honorable Florizelle Liser, Assistant United States Trade
Representative for Africa, Office of the United States Trade
Mr. Isaiah Washington, actor, president, Gondobay Manga
Foundation (Sierra Leone)...................................... 46
Mr. Scott Eisner, Executive Director, Africa Business Initiative,
United States Chamber of Commerce.............................. 53
Mr. Reginald Maynor, director of international department, Luster
Products Incorporated.......................................... 62
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Johnnie Carson: Prepared statement................. 11
The Honorable Florizelle Liser: Prepared statement............... 29
Mr. Isaiah Washington: Prepared statement........................ 49
Mr. Scott Eisner: Prepared statement............................. 56
Mr. Reginald Maynor: Prepared statement.......................... 64
Hearing notice................................................... 86
Hearing minutes.................................................. 87
The Honorable Russ Carnahan, a Representative in Congress from
the State of Missouri: Prepared statement...................... 88
THE INCREASING AMERICAN JOBS THROUGH GREATER EXPORTS TO AFRICA ACT
TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2012
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health,
and Human Rights,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 o'clock
p.m., in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon.
Christopher H. Smith (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Smith. The subcommittee will come to order, and good
afternoon, everybody. Today's hearing will examine U.S. policy
toward American exports to Africa as part of U.S.-Africa trade.
The original African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, was
intended to be mutually beneficial for both African and
American entrepreneurs, but the focus of the three
administrations since its passage in 2000 has been on
increasing African exports to the United States and a resultant
job growth on the African continent.
This policy, however, has neglected the job growth here in
the United States that could be created through increasing U.S.
exports to Africa. The purpose of the Increasing American Jobs
Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012, or H.R. 4221,
which I've introduced along with Congressman Bobby Rush and my
good friend and colleague, Ms. Bass, our ranking member, is to
address the important components of U.S.-Africa trade by
increasing U.S. exports to Africa by 200 percent over the next
The bill does not replace AGOA, it complements it by
providing for a rebalancing that makes it beneficial to
Americans as well as Africans. Senators Dick Durbin and John
Boozman have introduced an identical version of the bill in the
The bill intends to achieve its ambitious but achievable
goal by taking several steps, including the creation of a U.S.-
Africa trade coordinator to ensure that all U.S. agencies
involved in trade work in concert with one another.
This legislation also calls for not less than 25 percent of
U.S. trade financing to be devoted to facilitating U.S.-Africa
trade. Furthermore, it encourages the descendants of Africa in
this country, who largely operate small and medium size
businesses, to play a greater role in trade with countries in
Africa. Small and medium enterprises in Africa and the U.S.
have not benefited from AGOA to the extent that they could have
or should have, and the bill addresses this deficit.
U.S. companies can benefit from an expanding African market
of businesses and consumers, and increased American production
will create new, sustainable jobs. Some have expressed concern
that such an expansion of U.S. exports to Africa could flood
African markets and damage their economies. However, many of
these U.S. exports, such as in the agricultural sector, will
enable African producers to become more efficient and
profitable, and create jobs for their workers as well.
In trade, the best situation is one of observing the
principle of comparative advantage: Countries sell what they
make most efficiently and buy what another country makes most
efficiently. In this way, both buyer and seller countries
benefit from trade by meeting each other's needs. According to
the U.S. International Trade Administration, the United States
is the world's largest importer of sub-Saharan African goods,
receiving 20.2 percent of the region's total global exports.
On the other hand, during the height of the global
recession in 2008 to 2009, our exports to sub-Saharan Africa
plummeted by 45 percent, from $78.3 billion to $42.8 billion.
At the end of 2011, the United States sold nearly $20.3 billion
worth of goods to sub-Saharan Africa while purchasing more than
$74 billion worth of goods. Consequently, we had a trade
deficit with the nations of sub-Saharan Africa last year of
nearly $54 billion.
The African Development Bank estimates that one out of
three Africans is considered to be in the middle class. That is
314 million Africans who have escaped poverty and now can buy
consumer goods, including those from the United States. In
order to reduce our trade deficit with the nations of Africa,
there is room to engage in trade that increases economic
opportunity for Africans and Americans alike. We just haven't
taken advantage of the opportunities that exist.
The United States has, over the last decade, taken many
steps to enhance U.S.-Africa trade. African governments have
taken steps to encourage transatlantic trade as well. Still,
both sides can and must do better. Exports will help the
economy grow, because they typically boost factory production
which can fuel more hiring and lead to greater consumer
spending. Fewer imports subtract less from growth, largely
because consumers are spending less on overseas goods and
services. H.R. 4221 will contribute to job growth in the United
States by facilitating increased sales to the emerging markets
The rest of the world understands how valuable the nations
of Africa have become as economic markets. Last month this
subcommittee held hearings on the role of China in Africa that
not only pointed out China's design on selling their goods to
African countries, but also illustrated the economic interest
in Africa shown by nations as farflung as Brazil, Turkey and
South Korea. We, in the United States, must join in the more
equal two-way trade the rest of the world envisions for their
commerce with Africa.
I want to now turn to my good friend and colleague, Ms.
Bass, and I do want to thank all of our witnesses for being
here. We have two very, very distinguished panels, and I
especially want to single out Isaiah Washington, and thank him
for joining us today, for coming into Washington to be part of
panel II, to talk about his expertise especially as it relates
to Sierra Leone. We are very grateful to have you here, Mr.
Ms. Bass. Once again thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening
this hearing. Let me welcome today's guests who will be
testifying, all of whom have distinguished records and
substantial experience regarding U.S. trade in Africa.
I want to extend my gratitude to Chairman Smith and
Representative Rush for their leadership on H.R. 4221, the
Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act.
I am pleased to join my colleagues as a cosponsor of this
legislation, the bill will assist in increasing U.S. exports to
Africa by 200 percent within the next 10 years, and it is my
hope that we will achieve if not exceed this target. I also
look forward to working with our counterparts in the Senate,
Senator Durbin and Senator Boozman, who have as was stated have
introduced identical legislation.
The objective of today's hearing is to consider how the
U.S. Government can increase trade and investment on the
African continent. With signs of strong economic growth in sub-
Saharan Africa, the window of opportunity for broader U.S.
trade and business engagement has never been more timely.
Foreign nations including China, Canada, France, the UK, have
more comprehensive trade promoting programs directed at Africa
than we do. These programs give companies increased advantage
over American companies. The U.S. can and must do more to
ensure that U.S. businesses have similar opportunities and have
the tools needed to compete.
While quite variable by nation, GDP growth in many sub-
Saharan African countries has shown real strength and
resilience over the last decade. Many African countries have
GDP growth rates that exceed current U.S. rates. For example,
Sierra Leone has shown an average GDP rate of 9.7, Ethiopia 8.5
and Rwanda 7.6.
In October 2011, report on economic growth in sub-Saharan
Africa, the IMF, the International Monetary Fund, showed a
positive outlook for continued growth on the African continent.
The report stated, and I quote,
``This year looks set to be another encouraging one for
most sub-Saharan African economies. Reflecting mainly
strong domestic demand but also elevated commodity
prices, the region's economy is set to expand by 5.25
percent in 2011. For 2012, our baseline projection is
for growth to be higher at 5.75 percent.''
While the U.S. economy continues to pick up real strength,
growth in much of the sub-Saharan continent continues to
outpace growth here at home. What is clear is that the United
States must review its policies and look for new opportunities
to diversify and expand. One way to do this is by increasing
our low level of trade with Africa both through public and
private sector engagement. When passed into law, I firmly
believe that the conditions will exist to promote win-win
environments for both African nations and the United States.
Over the years, this committee has discussed the trade and
investment opportunities supported by the African Growth and
Opportunity Act signed into law in 2000. AGOA serves as a
primary vehicle for advancing U.S. trade and investment with
Africa. The purpose of AGOA has been to promote economic and
political development by opening access to investment and trade
markets in the United States for African nations. AGOA has been
at the center of American economic policy with respect to the
AGOA, however, is a nonreciprocal trade preference program.
As such, while U.S. firms that export to the United States from
Africa may benefit from the provision under AGOA, in most
instances U.S. exports to Africa do not automatically enjoy the
same benefits in reverse.
Members of Congress will soon review a special rule for
developing countries which provide additional preferences in
duty-free quota access for apparel. As we consider extending
the special rule, I look forward to ways and mechanisms that
strengthen AGOA in the future. And one of the things that I
want to propose to our chair is that we really begin to look
specifically at what companies are involved in AGOA, how it has
benefited the U.S., how it has benefited the continent.
The Congressional Research Service indicates that in 2011,
the U.S. imported nearly $93 billion in goods from Africa while
exporting just under $32 billion. Nigeria, Algeria, and Angola
were the leading exporters to the U.S., and oil products
totaling nearly $76 billion account for the overwhelming
majority of U.S. imports through AGOA.
In sum, our trade balance is highly uneven. Most of our
trade is in the form of U.S. imports, and the vast bulk of
benefits under AGOA accrue mostly to natural resource commodity
producers. Today's hearing in H.R. 4221 aims to address this
imbalance and offer new mechanisms to reduce import-export
I am pleased that Mr. Maynor, who as an African-American
businessman based in Chicago, will share with this committee
his company's 30-plus year history of conducting business
throughout the continent. Like other small and medium sized
businesses, I hope that Mr. Maynor's testimony offers insight
as my colleagues and I work to develop effective policies that
create greater trade and investment opportunities.
Thank you, and I look forward to the remarks of today's
Mr. Smith. Ms. Bass, thank you very much.
And Mr. Rush?
Mr. Rush. I want to thank the chairman of this
subcommittee, Congressman Chris Smith, and also ranking member
Karen Bass and all the other subcommittee members. I want to
sincerely thank you for allowing me to participate in this
hearing on the Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports
to Africa Act of 2012.
I must say that after four terms of trying to get a waiver
to be on this subcommittee, to be on this committee and then
denied for four terms, I have finally arrived in some sense. I
am proud to join Chairman Smith as the coauthor of a bill to
develop a comprehensive strategy to create American jobs by
increasing exports of U.S. goods and services to Africa by at
least 200 percent in real dollar value over the next 10 years.
And before I continue I must take time to say how honored I
am to be in the presence of the honorable Ms. Liser and the
Honorable Ambassador Johnnie Carson, who is a Chicagoan and
someone who grew up in my district on the south side of
Chicago. And I also want to welcome Mr. Maynor, who is an
executive with Luster Products Company, which is also located
in the city of Chicago.
And I must say that to my friend, Isaiah Washington, who
has been such a yeoman in this effort in these times and for
Africa and for African-Americans, it is such a delight to see
you here still on the case of fighting for the progress of
Africa, African-Americans and also Americans in general. And I
am certainly glad to be in your presence.
Chairman Smith, my hat is off to you. I commend you, I
commend your staff, for your leadership on this issue
especially on the bipartisan manner with which we worked
together during this process of drafting this legislation. This
is the way that the Congress should work, the way that America
wants its Congress to work.
Again I must welcome Ambassador Carson and Ms. Liser, and
the way that we are discussing today this bill is the right
bill for these challenging economic times. The U.S. has talked
far too long about Africa as the next trade and investment
frontier. Well, the next is now. The future of Africa is now
and it is time now to act on our promise. We now have a
tremendous opportunity to build mutually beneficial policies
that create jobs and economic growth on both continents.
For a long time, Africa has been portrayed only as a
continent riddled with war, dictatorship, poverty, disease and
debt and every kind of dysfunction. Yet this true, real story
of this country by country reawakening and revival and the
story of many great successes remain untold stories. Seven out
of ten of the fastest growing economies are today in Africa.
Africa has an expanding middle class hungry for American
products and its services. It is also in need of investment in
its rapidly expanding infrastructure.
In all my travels to African countries I always hear from
African leaders and African consumers about their preference
for American companies and products because of the quality of
our products, our reliable and innovative technology and our
labor environmental standards. But we are not reacting. We are
standing flat-footed as China and India and Brazil and others
are being fleet-footed.
In my conversation with African leaders, they say well, if
the U.S. doesn't come then we are forced to take the Chinese
money to help develop our economy. But we don't like it,
because the Chinese when they come and bring their dollars they
also bring their manpower, and we don't want to exchange a
European colonialism for Chinese colonialism. But we can't wait
on America. America must act and act now. The African people
can't resist flexible or cheap Chinese financing.
As one African ambassador told me at one time, if you
cannot have what you love then you end up loving what you have.
And they have China and so they have to love China. It is now
time for America to act.
This legislation will help to change those misguided
perceptions and foster a greater understanding among U.S.
businesses and financial communities about the opportunities
that exist in Africa. The U.S. investment opportunities in
Africa outside of the energy and mineral sectors hold a great
potential to increase jobs in Africa, boost income earning
power and help diversify African economies, thus making Africa
stronger as a market for U.S. goods and services.
Poverty and hunger are still widespread problems, but
Africa's growing middle class is creating businesses and
investment opportunities that are among the best in the world.
With the right trade policy in place we can unlock the
potential of a thriving private sector and lift millions out of
The tools available to U.S. companies to competitively
compete in Africa are scattered, difficult to access and not
effectively coordinated. Competition for jobs is also real. We
need to think more strategically and be more innovative as to
how we can best support our investments in Africa. This bill
has been introduced for that purpose. Among other things, the
bill will create a special White House Africa Strategy
Coordinator to ensure government agencies are maximizing
resources to help U.S. companies expand into African market.
The bill also includes language from H.R. 656, the African
Investment and Diaspora Act of 2011 that I introduced last
Congress, positioning the U.S.-African diaspora to spur African
economic growth. When I introduced AIDA in the social media,
our Facebook group gained close to 10,000 members in less than
a week. More than a hundred African immigrant groups signed a
petition in support of this initiative. I have not met one
single African who did not express his or her desire to
contribute to the development of his or her country of origin
and to represent an American firm.
This bill will help turn brain drain into brain gain,
challenging a new paradigm for strengthening U.S.-Africa
relations in the 21st century. It also marks the first step
toward unleashing Africa's vast potential through win-win trade
and investment opportunities mirroring the spirit of the common
history and destiny shared between the U.S. and Africa. This
bill will help reduce non-trade barriers, encourage regional
integration of African countries, increase U.S. exports and
positively affect U.S. trade export and labor initiative.
Furthermore, passage of this legislation will ensure that
the U.S. policy is contributing meaningfully to the positive
transformation of Africa, enabling it to progress toward
forward integration into the 21st century world economy not as
a supplier of raw materials and resources, but as a full
participant in the international supply and distribution
chains. The future of Africa, the future of U.S. economies are
intertwined and this future is now before us. We must act now
to ensure that future.
And I am looking forward to hearing the testimony from both
panels. Thank you, and I yield back.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Rush, thank you very much, and thank you for
your kind words. It has been great to work with you and your
staff, and of course with my ranking member, our ranking
member, Ms. Bass.
I would like to now introduce without objection, the bios
of our very distinguished witnesses.
Ambassador Johnnie Carson has been a frequent witness
before this subcommittee. He currently serves as the Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs, a position he has held
since May 2009. Ambassador Carson has had a long and
distinguished career in public service including 37 years in
the Foreign Service, including serving as the U.S. Ambassador
to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Ambassador Carson has also
served as the Staff Director of this subcommittee, and as a
Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania. Ambassador Carson is a
recipient of numerous awards for his service from the
We will then hear from Ms. Florizelle Liser, currently the
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa in the Office of
the U.S. Trade Representative. She leads U.S. trade efforts and
investment in sub-Saharan Africa, and oversees implementation
of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Ms. Liser was also a
founding member of TransAfrica, and has applied these efforts
to her continuous work to help the U.S. realize Africa's
growing importance to us as a continent. Ms. Liser has
extensive background in trade negotiations, in Africa, and has
spent much of her career working on those issues.
Ambassador Carson, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHNNIE CARSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY
OF STATE, BUREAU OF AFRICAN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ambassador Carson. Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass,
Congressman Rush and other members of the committee, thank you
very much for providing me with this opportunity to address
this committee on an important and timely topic.
Before I begin my testimony, I would like to say that this
is the first time that I have addressed this committee since
the tragic and unfortunate passing of Congressman Donald Payne.
Congressman Payne was a leader on issues related to Africa. He
was one of the pioneers of the African Growth and Opportunity
Act, and was a strong friend of the continent and our
relationship with Africa. If he were alive today he would be at
this hearing pushing for the kinds of legislation toward Africa
that we all believe in both in the executive branch and in the
Let me begin my testimony. U.S. trade to and from Africa
has grown significantly in the past 10 years. U.S. exports to
sub-Saharan Africa tripled from just under $7 billion in 2001
to over $21 billion in 2011. This threefold increase
illustrates the impressive economic growth that many markets in
Africa achieve by tackling tough economic reforms over the past
decade. However, despite Africa's recent and very impressive
economic growth, sub-Saharan Africa still accounts for less
than 2 percent of global trade.
It is my firm belief that Africa represents the next global
economic frontier, and I am not alone in that assessment. The
World Bank projects growth rates of between 5 and 6 percent for
Africa over the next 2 years. These projections are higher than
growth rates expected for Latin America, Central Asia and
Europe. Africa is poised to grow even further, presenting
significant opportunities for U.S. companies to both trade and
invest in the continent.
Nonetheless, there are still many barriers that stand in
the way of companies hoping to do business in Africa. In many
places corruption is common. The cost of finance including
investment finance is still too high. Infrastructure is weak or
nonexistent in some places. Regulatory systems are often
insufficient, inconsistent, and inefficient. Because of these
barriers many U.S. businesses see African markets as too risky.
We are working closely with African governments across the
continent to address these issues and to improve the local
investment and business environment. The United States
Government also plays a role in assisting American companies to
get into African markets. We recognize that increasing two-way
trade and enhancing investment helps to grow economies on both
sides of the Atlantic, in Africa as well as in America.
Our effort to increase our commercial engagement in Africa
is a part of Secretary Clinton's global focus on economic
statecraft. This State Department's economic statecraft agenda
consists of harnessing the forces of global economies to
advance our diplomatic agenda and putting the tools of our
diplomacy to work to meet our economic goals. We are committed
to using every opportunity available to advance not only our
diplomatic and political priorities, but also our economic and
commercial goals as well.
The Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State
has instituted a number of programs that move beyond the
traditional focus on development assistance and that place a
special and higher interest on promoting a full range of
commercial and trade activities.
I recently organized and led a trade mission to Mozambique,
Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana with 10 U.S. energy companies
ready to do business. A lack of reasonably priced and reliable
power remains one of the most significant constraints to
economic growth throughout Africa. Governments across the
continent are working to attract new trade and foreign
investment that will sustain their rapid economic growth and
build their middle class.
The goal of this trade mission was to highlight
opportunities for U.S. companies and to help address a glaring
need for increased power in the infrastructure of Africa. By
all accounts the mission was a success, and the Africa Bureau
plans to lead similar trade missions in other sectors in the
future. Our goal is to encourage other American companies to be
a part of the growing economic dynamism of Africa.
In February, Secretary Clinton hosted the first State
Department-led Global Business Conference that included
representatives from the American Chambers of Commerce and
business organizations from around the world including Africa.
And in March, we worked with the Foreign Commercial Service to
host a commercial training program for economic officers posted
in some 25 sub-Saharan African countries.
I want to note the importance we place on working with the
American Chambers of Commerce overseas. There are currently
eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa with American Chambers of
Commerce, and we hope that working with and through the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce here in Washington to see that number grow.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) currently is
the centerpiece of our trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa.
AGOA remains very relevant today for both Africa and the United
States. Eligible African countries receive duty-free
preferences for approximately 6,000 products to come into the
United States market. However, AGOA gives the United States
Government a platform to engage in an economic dialogue with
our African partners.
As a part of the most recent annual AGOA eligibility review
we were able to engage in serious discussions with a variety of
African nations about the need to improve their macroeconomic
and trade policies. The annual AGOA forum also gives the United
States Government an opportunity to communicate our trade and
investment priorities to African trade ministers and
This year's forum will take place in Washington, DC, on
June 14th and 15th, and will focus on how to improve Africa's
infrastructure to facilitate and increase trade. The forum will
also include civil society and private sector sessions. In
addition, we look forward to building on the success of the
African Women's Entrepreneur Program which was launched during
the 2010 AGOA forum here in Washington. Approximately 40
leading African women entrepreneurs will participate in
meetings here and in Washington, DC, Ohio, and New York.
The State Department, in collaboration with several U.S.
Government agencies, will host the U.S.-Africa Business
Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, from June 21 to June 22,
following the annual African Growth and Opportunity forum here
in Washington. The United States-Africa Business Conference
builds on the policy discussions that take place during the
AGOA forums by providing an opportunity to showcase U.S.
business expertise to potential African clients and to
highlight trade and investment opportunities in Africa to U.S.
exporters and investors.
The United States-Africa Business Conference will include
structured networking opportunities for African business
leaders and government officials with American business leaders
as well as state and local government officials and business
leaders. Informational sessions on U.S. Government services
from various government agencies and site visits to private
companies and organizations will also feature prominently in
this program. Echoing the theme of the AGOA forum, the event
will focus broadly on infrastructure development including
energy, transportation, water and sanitation.
We expect the conference to attract a number of AGOA forum
participants including African trade and energy ministers as
well as relevant African business leaders and entrepreneurs. We
also expect a large number of American private sector
businessmen and women to participate.
I remained very excited about the Cincinnati event
following this year's AGOA forum. In 2010, we held a similar
event in Kansas City, Missouri that was well worth the effort.
By taking African government officials and private sector
representatives outside the Beltway, we can facilitate a
fruitful discussion that goes beyond simply discussing trade
policy but leads to the establishment of business linkages and
even the completion of business deals.
I would like to end my comments on what I think is a very
serious and pressing matter, the potential impact of a delayed
renewal of the third country fabric provision of AGOA. Third
country fabric has been one of the most successful components
of the AGOA legislation and can be credited with creating tens
of thousands of jobs in countries such as Lesotho, Kenya,
Swaziland, and Mauritius. I have heard from representatives of
a number of African countries that apparel orders are drying up
due to the uncertainty surrounding the extension of this third
country fiber provision.
In Lesotho, which is the largest African apparel exporter
to the United States, our Embassy reports that there are no
U.S. orders for apparel after July and transactions are usually
made 6 months in advance. Our Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya,
recently reported similar news and estimated that some 40,000
factory workers could very likely lose their jobs if the third
country fabric provision is not extended.
The apparel industries in these countries rely on the third
country fabric provision. Without it there is a very real
possibility that the investors in the apparel factories will
pack up and move production to some other part of the world as
we saw in Madagascar following its loss of AGOA eligibility in
2009. This would cause enormous economic strife in countries
that are strong partners of the United States and countries
that are starting to show real economic and sustained economic
Chairman Smith, members of the committee, I want to again
thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today. I
will be happy to answer any questions you have. My full
testimony has been submitted for the record.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Carson follows:]
Mr. Smith. Without objection, so ordered. We thank you for
your testimony. We will take a short break. We have three votes
on the floor and about 2\1/2\ minutes to get to the floor to
make the first one. So we will stand in recess.
Mr. Smith. The subcommittee will resume its sitting. And I
would like to invite Ms. Liser, if you could present your
testimony. And again I want to apologize for that break. We did
have three votes and they went longer than they should have.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE FLORIZELLE LISER, ASSISTANT UNITED
STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE FOR AFRICA, OFFICE OF THE UNITED
STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
Ms. Liser. Thank you, I should know that.
Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass, I don't see
Congressman Rush back yet, but we just wanted to thank you for
the opportunity to speak with you today about the Obama
administration's trade policy to increase U.S. exports to
Africa. We welcome your interest in this timely topic and we
agree with the stated premise of the proposed legislation that
growth in U.S. exports to Africa would have a positive effect
on the U.S. economy in terms of U.S. exports and supporting
jobs as well as advancing economic growth on the African
Let me just say that my full testimony was submitted, and I
am going to summarize as briefly as I can that testimony and
add a few additional points that I would like to share.
First of all, we all recognize that Africa is indeed a
frontier market with the kinds of growth rates that we see, the
reforms that have taken place in many of the sub-Saharan
African countries, the doing-business reforms that they have
made, the leadership that we are now seeing on the continent
and advances in democracy, fewer conflicts, we recognize that
Africa's time has come and that many countries recognize the
importance of that as a market for their exports, and we
certainly want to make sure that U.S. businesses also see the
opportunities that are there.
I heard someone say the other day at a meeting that if you
are a U.S. company looking to grow, then you absolutely must
have an Africa strategy. Without an Africa strategy, your
chances of growing and taking advantage of that market with
growing middle income persons, the youth bulge, discretionary
income that is growing there, you would not be a wise company
on this end if you did not take advantage of the U.S. market.
Let me just say that we are pleased that both through
legislation, like the legislation that has been introduced and
the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that there are in
addition to legislation, a number of tools that we are using
right now that we hope are advancing the U.S.-Africa trade and
investment relationship. I think you all know that we have
Trade and Investment Framework Agreements, TIFAs, with a number
of individual countries and regional organizations in sub-
Our TIFAs are important tools for strengthening economic
relations with key countries and regional organizations. They
provide a formal mechanism to address bilateral trade issues
and to help enhance trade and investment relations between the
United States and key sub-Saharan African trade and investment
In addition, we have several Bilateral Investment Treaties
with six sub-Saharan African countries, and we are currently in
the process of negotiating a seventh BIT with Mauritius. We are
also hoping to have discussions with Ghana on a Bilateral
Investment Treaty. Investment is critical for Africa's
development, and U.S. BITs help to protect U.S. investment and
promote economic growth.
In addition, we are using a number of tools in the
interagency process such as the Trade Policy Staff Committee
which manages the everyday responsibilities of coordinating
U.S. trade and investment related policies, and ensuring that
U.S. business interests are reflected in all of our trade
negotiations and initiatives including those in Africa. We also
have the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and the Export
Promotion Cabinet, which has developed a national export
strategy, and these together are implementing the National
Export Initiative as part of the administration's efforts to
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Trade
Advisory Committee on Africa, which was established by Congress
in AGOA legislation and consists of presidentially appointed
individuals from the U.S. private sector, nongovernmental
organizations, and academia, who provide advice to the U.S.
Trade Representative and the administration specifically on key
U.S.-Africa trade and investment issues.
Finally, we are in the process of implementing the African
Growth and Opportunity Act, and as part of that process among
other things, as Ambassador Carson said, we annually review the
48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa for compliance with AGOA
eligibility criteria which includes their making progress on
eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment.
The administration is committed to building a strong
partnership with Africa that reflects the continent's vital and
growing role in international global trade and that is mutually
beneficial. At the heart of our engagement with sub-Saharan
Africa is of course AGOA. And for three administrations AGOA
has defined our trade relationship with the continent and been
responsible for expanding and diversifying African exports to
the United States.
I would like to reassure the members of this subcommittee
though that our efforts to help spur growth and development in
sub-Saharan Africa through programs like AGOA do not impede our
drive for promoting U.S. exports to the continent. Not only has
AGOA been good for Africa, but it has also been good for U.S.
businesses. By providing incentives and support for African
economic reforms, AGOA has helped to foster an improved
business environment in many African countries that has
attracted investment and enabled U.S. exports to the region to
more than triple since 2001.
Sub-Saharan Africa presents a wide range of business
opportunities for U.S. businesses as many of the fastest
growing economies in the world with rapidly growing middle
class consumers are on the continent. The continent has enjoyed
significant economic growth in the last few years, and returns
on investment in Africa rarely dip below 10 percent,
representing one of the highest rates of return in the world.
AGOA has also helped increase the demand for U.S. products in
the region by helping to promote economic and political reforms
and to create business-friendly environments.
As African businesses seek to take advantage of trade
opportunities under AGOA, they are seeking U.S. inputs,
expertise and joint venture partnerships. U.S. merchandise
exports to sub-Saharan Africa continue to rise, growing by over
23 percent in 2011 from the previous year with notable gains in
agricultural goods, machinery and transportation equipment.
These exports support thousands of U.S. jobs and help African
countries to modernize their economies. For instance, last year
alone the United States made over $1.5 billion in aircraft
sales to African countries like Ethiopia, Angola, South Africa
Africa's growing middle class is increasingly demanding
high quality U.S. products, ranging from motor vehicles where
U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa increased last year by over
40 percent to $3.5 billion, to poultry products where U.S.
exports increased by nearly 50 percent last year to nearly $400
Let me share with you a chart that provides information on
U.S. exports to Africa, which I think you will find useful.
[The information referred to follows:]
Ms. Liser. I would be remiss if I did not also add my voice
to Ambassador Carson's and many others in the administration
and amongst the African diplomatic corps and many in the U.S.
business community regarding the extension of third country
fabric provisions under AGOA. As an urgent, immediate-term
priority, we hope to work closely with Congress to renew AGOA's
third country fabric provisions which expire in September 2012.
AGOA's performance, effectiveness and success are closely
tied to the third country fabric provisions. These provisions
are crucial to the continued survival of Africa's textile and
apparel industry. Failure to extend these provisions is already
affecting the competitiveness of Africa's apparel industry
because global sourcing decisions for apparel are typically
made up to 9 months in advance, imminently threatening
significant job losses and factory closures throughout Africa
in the coming months.
AGOA's third country fabric provisions are also important
for the United States, because they provide American retailers
with an incentive to diversify their supply chains away from
other foreign textile sources and provide low cost sourcing
options for our apparel retailers and U.S. consumers.
We look forward to working with you to promote U.S. exports
to Africa and ensure that our trade policy continues to support
jobs and export opportunities for America. I wanted to end by
sharing, and I think you have it, a picture, which I think says
far better than words what is happening with U.S. exports to
Africa and which we would like to see a lot more of.
[The information referred to follows:]
Ms. Liser. It is a picture of three GE produced rail cars
that were in the process of being exported to Liberia for a
steel and mining initiative. And those GE locomotives and the
70 wagons are moving 4 million tons of iron ore that is going
to be mined and shipped from Liberia each year to its partners
around the world. In addition to the GE locomotives, there were
also other companies like Caterpillar who supplied various
components and are rehabilitating the 200 ore wagons. And we
believe that a number of U.S. companies and businesses and
workers were definitely benefited by that transaction.
Let me end by saying that we would like to see a lot more
of those kinds of initiatives take place, and we look forward
to working with you to ensure that that happens. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Liser follows:]
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Ms. Liser, so very much for your
testimony. Let me just ask Ambassador Carson, with the AGOA
forum, which you talked about in your testimony, about to take
place on June 14th and 15th, what is going to be the State
Department's main theme in engaging African governments at that
Ambassador Carson. Thank you very much. We are going to
focus on energy and infrastructure and continue to encourage
economic reforms that will attract greater American business
and American interest to the African continent.
Mr. Smith. Let me ask you, Ms. Liser, how have the Trade
and Investment Framework Agreements that you just mentioned in
your testimony helped open up markets for American goods, and
what have been the deficiencies that need to be rectified?
Ms. Liser. Well, we think that one of the processes that
has happened under our TIFAs is the opportunity to bring
together on both sides as well as, the government workers as
well as the private sectors to talk about the opportunities for
enhancing trade and investment between ourselves and the TIFA
partner. And one of the things we have been able to do in our
TIFA discussions is to raise some of the concerns that our
businesses have. Sometimes it is the perfect opportunity to
say, okay, you have this barrier, you have this import ban, you
have these rules on getting licenses, et cetera that are
standing in the way. And we have found that through the
dialogue we have been able to get these governments to address
some of those barriers that are preventing U.S. businesses from
being able to operate effectively in those countries.
In terms of where there is a need for improvement under the
TIFAs, we tell the countries, our country partners, all the
time that the TIFA can only be as good as the work that they
put in on their end and we put in on our end. And so one of the
things that we try to get them to do is to not wait until they
sit down with us after 18 months to, over the course of 2 days
to start addressing some of the issues that have been raised.
To the extent that we have a number of our TIFA partners
who do well at addressing the issues in between the meetings
like Mauritius, like Ghana, like Rwanda, we find that we have
been able to enhance our trade investment relationship with
them very well under the TIFAs.
Mr. Smith. Let me just--a little background. Some of you
may know this, but if you don't know I authored the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act of 2000, which created a coordinated
strategy for combating modern day slavery. In like manner also
in 2000, I wrote what became the Combating Autism Act. And
again the key there was that the NIH has a very, very well
focused strategy on combating autism. I remember I was the
sponsor of the legislation that just got signed in the fall to
reauthorize the Combating Autism Act for the next 3 years.
My point is, the key to our legislation that the three of
us have sponsored is creating a strategy--and I know you have
strategies, I know there are many, you are doing an outstanding
job on trying to increase trade with Africa. But we have laid
out eight different areas where there would be a more, a
coordinated blueprint for action trying to get everybody on the
same page, avoid duplication but also ensuring that we also put
an emphasis on exporting, which I think we have put some
emphasis on, but the hope is that we will put even more on.
And I am wondering what your thoughts are in looking at the
legislation. I am not asking yet for an endorsement. We
certainly would love for the administration to endorse the
bill. It is a bipartisan bill as you know. Just so that we
could get it to, before this session ends, this legislation, on
the President's desk so it could be very robustly implemented.
The strategy, have you looked at the eight provisions? Do
you find we have identified some things that have not been
heretofore well coordinated? And what perhaps do you think
ought to be added to the bill to improve it?
Ambassador Carson. Mr. Chairman, I won't speak specifically
to the specific provisions of the bill because as I have said,
we have not taken, the administration has not taken a position
on it. But let me say that the administration, certainly
Secretary of State Clinton, is focused very much on doing as
much as we possibly can to strengthen trade around the world,
but also in Africa.
She has a policy of promoting economic statecraft and
economic diplomacy using all of our Embassies in Africa and all
of our ambassadors in Africa not only as our top diplomats but
as our top trade promotion and commercial representatives. We
want our Embassies in Africa to be known as hubs that can
assist U.S. businessmen and women and investors to do business
in Africa and to use our facilities to encourage trade and
trade opportunities with local governments.
I have mentioned in my testimony that in February of this
year I organized and led a trade mission to four African
countries. That trade mission brought together some 10 American
energy companies to look at real opportunities in Africa in
four very successful African states that had great energy needs
and great energy potential. We think that we need and will do
in the future, more of these kinds of focused trade missions,
whereby we can help American countries be introduced to
particular markets to gain access to senior government leaders
and to network with local business officials.
We also believe that it is critical to increase the level
of awareness and information about the existence of
opportunities in Africa. We have to break down the fear and
apprehension that exists among some American companies about
what exists in Africa. All too frequently the continent is
looked at as a single entity and not as some 49, certainly in
sub-Saharan Africa, some 49 different states.
There are enormous, enormous opportunities in economies
that are growing rapidly that have enormous and outstanding
potential, who have the kinds of markets which American
companies should be interested in, but they don't know yet
about them. The other thing that we have got to do is----
Ms. Bass. Can I interrupt you for just a second?
Ambassador Carson. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. Bass. You were referring to four countries that you had
very successful energy exchange with. Which countries were you
Ambassador Carson. Yes, ma'am. Those countries were
Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana. Three of those
countries are very high performing economies that are growing
rapidly. All of them have tremendous energy needs, but all of
them have enormous capacity to not only supply energy to their
own countries but to the region as a whole.
Mozambique has hydroelectric potential capable of not only
satisfying the Mozambique market but also Tanzania and much of
South Africa. It also has enormous gas deposits both Tanzania
and Mozambique do as well. These are countries that are going
to grow rapidly and they have a lot of potential.
I think Congressman Rush in his remarks noted that all too
often one looks at Africa and only thinks of the difficult
places, the Sudans, the Somalias, the eastern Congo. We need to
not focus on the difficulties that exist in some places, mix
them up with the success, the promise, the potential and the
enormously good prospects that exist across the continent in
the Tanzanias, the Mozambiques, the South Africas, the
Botswanas, the Ghanas, the Namibias, the Senegals, the Cote
d'Ivoires where there is enormous potential, and where people
are frequently frightened away because of something that is
happening several thousand miles away. We have to break down
these suspicions and concerns that are there. We have to
educate the American business community about the enormous
We do look at strategies, and as I say AGOA is a part of
that. More trade missions represents a part of that. Secretary
of State's economic statecraft and diplomacy are a part of
that. Working with our colleagues at Ex-Im Bank, with OPIC,
with the U.S. Trade Representative's office are also a part of
that to ensure that we can leverage what we do.
And final comment, when we were out on the road in Africa
on this energy trade mission, we had two of our colleagues from
the Export-Import Bank were along with us. They can finance
major projects. We also had a representative from the U.S.
Trade Development Agency with us, and they finance major
feasibility studies. We would have been joined by a colleague
from OPIC, but they had a serious illness in the family and
could not come at the last minute. So it is, in fact, not just
us in the Department but a whole of government approach to the
way we are trying to do this.
It is important that we focus on the business and
commercial side of this. This is the way that Africa is going
to achieve sustained long term development and growth.
Mr. Smith. I have a number of questions, but out of
deference to our second panel and my colleagues and you for the
delay, I will just ask two final questions and then submit
other questions for the record.
I will ask you if you could, Mr. Ambassador, if you could
provide us, the administration, views on the legislation. It
would be very, very helpful. I mean we are looking for a
partnership here and any constructive criticism, language you
think ought to be incorporated, because delay could quickly
become denial and this session will end and then the whole
process has to start all over again. And we all know how long
it takes to start it up again.
Let me just ask you, with regards to Ex-Im Bank. I have
read their strategic plan very carefully. I would note
parenthetically that Nigeria and South Africa account for over
50 percent of the U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa. A part of
the reason for the bill is to try to expand and to have a more
robust effort strategy-wise to make sure that west Africa and
so many other countries and regions are included.
And there are nine focus countries at Ex-Im Bank, why there
is not a greater focus on other countries, perhaps they should
give us an answer to that. But in the legislation we do call
for deployment or redeployment of more Ex-Im Bank personnel, a
greater focus on Africa. They shift it from other areas. And so
if you could speak to that issue.
And secondly, the general wisdom is that the GDP of Africa
will double in the next 10 years from $1.6 trillion. Have there
been any qualitative analyses as to how foreign sourcing
particularly to the PRC has hurt our ability to export
especially finished products to China? I mean all of these
trade policies go hand in hand, and obviously when most favored
nation status that particularly relates to PNTR, without any
linkage whatsoever to human rights and labor rights, China has
gotten a huge benefit from that without commensurate benefits
to the people of China and the working people especially. Not
so with Africa. I mean there I think we can count on more
people getting jobs at greater salaries and benefits than a
dictatorship could ever provide.
So this idea of analysis, has anybody looked at China, how
our ill-advised policies toward Beijing and their ability to
make finished products and then flood not just the U.S. but now
sub-Saharan Africa with products, how that pushes us out of the
picture of being able to export? Those two questions.
Ambassador Carson. Mr. Chairman, I am not aware of such a
study, but I will go back and ask whether our colleagues who
cover China and Asia, about whether such a study exists.
Mr. Smith. I would appreciate that. Because many of our
factories have disappeared, but the focus of the bill, part of
the focus, is meeting in smaller businesses which have not
disappeared. And as we wrote into the language, trying to get
more of the diaspora involved with, an even greater motive to
reconnect with Africa seems to incentivize more trade which
means everybody wins. So if you could look into that. The
larger businesses have foreign source. They are now in China,
but the others have not.
And on the other question with the Ex-Im Bank?
Ambassador Carson. I am not going to try and answer for the
Ex-Im Bank officials, and I think that one is more directed at
them and their particular strategy. I will say that they have
been very good colleagues with us. They joined us on our energy
trade mission back in February, and I know that they are
looking and have been increasing the amount of funding that
they have put into Africa. We think that it is very important
that when American companies find opportunities to make sales
that they have the support of organizations like Ex-Im Bank to
help facilitate the financing.
But I think your specific question, Mr. Chairman, should be
addressed to Ex-Im Bank. I would not do it justice. I am not
familiar enough with the internal strategies and workings of
Mr. Smith. But you wouldn't disagree with their finding
that half of all of our exports go to Nigeria and to South
Africa, leaving large numbers of other countries where there
could be, and that is not what they help facilitate. They claim
in their strategy that that is where most of our exports go. Is
Ambassador Carson. Well, let me just say I think that they
probably are using a fair amount of their money, their
financing to support major capital purchases and investments
such as aircraft, GE locomotives, GE medical supplies, large
sales of machinery and equipment, and probably a lot of it
going to support not only those kinds of capital purchases and
expenditures, but those that may be related to mining and oil
as well. That is again off the top of my head, but I would
argue that is probably why it is concentrated there.
Mr. Smith. Ms. Liser?
Ms. Liser. Let me just also add though that while South
Africa and Nigeria are our top two U.S. export markets in sub-
Saharan Africa, the other three of the top five are Angola,
Ghana and Ethiopia, and we are sending a range of products to
them. Machinery, vehicles and parts, some process oil products,
aircraft, poultry, cereals.
So I think that when you look at the chart I shared with
you all, in terms of the numbers we have various countries
where we are shipping over $1 billion in exports to them, and
then a number of other countries where there has been
significant growth between 2010 and 2011. So our view is that
the trade between the United States and these countries is
diversifying. We are getting more of a range of products coming
from them to us and more of a range of products going from the
U.S. to a wider range of countries there as well.
Mr. Smith. And before yielding to Ranking Member Bass,
Ambassador Carson, if you could get back to us on that if there
is any qualitative analysis and whether or not perhaps that
could be undertaken. We need to know, our chief competitor is
the PRC, and when you have got gulag labor and a whole host of
people receiving, large numbers of workers getting 10-50 cents
per hour with no OSHA regulations at all, obviously it is hard
for us to compete with that, but we need to know what we have
been losing. Because again, we want to export good, fine
products that have been made by workers who have been well paid
with good benefits just like we want Africa to have the same.
Ms. Bass. Thank you. I wanted to ask you a few questions
and ask you, some of it you have already made reference to, but
for me especially being relatively new would appreciate you
being very specific of, for example, the Ambassador talked
about eight countries that have U.S. Chambers. I would like to
know which countries they are. And I mean if you don't have the
information with you, if you could get back to me. And then
what are some of the companies that are involved in these
Chambers in the various countries?
Ambassador Carson. Let me say that I think that someone
from the U.S. Chamber, Mr. Eisner, is going to testify on the
second panel and he can give you the list of companies. But I
Ms. Bass. You referenced those in your comments, that is
why I was directing those to you.
Ambassador Carson. No question, absolutely. But I think he
can give you the most definitive response. But I think you will
find in those countries, obviously the largest one is in South
Africa, and there are some 600 American companies represented
with offices, direct investment or representatives in that
country and they cover the entire range. But I will let Mr.
Eisner speak to that.
Ms. Bass. And then following up on what the chairman was
raising in terms of countries where we do business, I know one
issue that you were trying to get at which what is the
strategy, what are we doing to expand it beyond the handful of
Ms. Liser. You are speaking of the handful of countries we
are exporting to?
Ms. Bass. Right, exactly.
Ms. Liser. But what I was trying to say earlier is that we
actually have a wide range of countries that we are exporting
various U.S. products to, and that continues to expand.
But I do think that one of the things that you have
mentioned in the bill that is very important in this process is
educating and encouraging a greater understanding among U.S.
businesses, and from our point of view small businesses.
Because I think many of you know that the majority of our
exporters from the United States are actually small businesses,
and so we think that it is important to try to get out and
communicate to them opportunities in Africa.
And some of the small businesses don't actually do much
exporting in general, so educating them about why they should
look at Africa as a growth opportunity for them and for their
small companies is something that we do but we could probably
do much more of. And I think that we have a number of the U.S.
agencies at the U.S. Export Assistance Centers that are spread
all around the country that have the Department of Commerce
person there, Ex-Im Bank, OPIC, SBA. And I think that we are
working with them to try to make sure that our small
businesses, diaspora-owned, minority-owned, women-owned
businesses have a better understanding of where these
opportunities are. Without them doing that all the policies
that we put into place and strategy that we have in the U.S.
Government will not necessarily result in the kind of exports
that we want to see.
Ms. Bass. It would also be helpful if the USTR would give
us an analysis or assessment of the bill from your vantage
point as well. The bill calls for USTR and the Ex-Im Bank
officials to explore opportunities to negotiate new trade
agreements in Africa, and I wanted to know your opinion of what
kinds of trade agreements are most needed to foster that
Ms. Liser. Well, I think first of all, we have these Trade
and Investment Framework Agreements which are in place. They
cover now a wide range of countries because some of those
agreements are with regional organizations, and I noticed in
the bill that you talk about promoting regional integration as
well. And we are trying to do that through these TIFAs with the
East African community or the common market for Eastern and
Southern Africa or the SACU countries.
So we think that that will help to basically work with a
wider range of countries to enhance our U.S. trade and
Ms. Bass. And to what extent are U.S. businesses taking
advantage, from your opinion, of the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC for
commercial activity in Africa, either one?
Ms. Liser. Again I would say what Ambassador Carson said
that it is best to get that from them. But my understanding, I
was just at the Export-Import Bank annual conference the other
day, on Thursday and Friday, and then have also worked closely
OPIC will tell you that their what they call exposure in
Africa is actually very large. They have a number of loans and
products that they are undertaking in sub-Saharan Africa, and I
believe the same is true for Export-Import Bank. But I would
just say that from what I can tell, there is a lot of activity
on their part and a lot of businesses that they are
facilitating to be in Africa from our end. So we can make sure
that they have the questions and get back to the committee with
a more detailed answer.
Ms. Bass. That would be great. Thank you very much.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Rush?
Mr. Rush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ms. Liser, I want to
follow up some on the line of questioning that Chairman Smith
asked. You are in charge of trade negotiations and policy at
the USTR, and in that capacity I believe that you are part of
the Trade Policy Staff Committee, is that true?
Ms. Liser. Yes.
Mr. Rush. What is that committee?
Ms. Liser. The Trade Policy Staff Committee is the
interagency process and committee that we have for discussing a
wide range of trade policy issues all over the world actually.
Within the Trade Policy Staff Committee we have a subcommittee
on sub-Saharan Africa where we look at the U.S.-sub-Saharan
Africa trade issues more specifically, and we also have a
subcommittee on implementation of the African Growth and
Opportunity Act. And that committee is the one that comes
together annually to look at the 49 countries in sub-Saharan
Africa and the criteria that Congress set up for AGOA
eligibility and determine what to do.
So I would say that that is the committee, that the Trade
Policy Staff Committee is the process that we use to really
coordinate with a wide range of U.S. Government agencies from
the Department of Agriculture to U.S. Trade and Development
Agency, OPIC, Ex-Im, State Department, Commerce Department and
many others on our trade policies. I would say that is also the
committee that when we were negotiating a free trade agreement
with the five countries of the Southern Africa Customs Union,
with SACU, up until about 2006 that is the committee that we
would meet with to discuss our negotiating positions, what we
wanted to offer to them and what we were looking for to get
back from them as a part of those negotiations.
Mr. Rush. And what is the status of your, you said in 2006
you were engaged in a vigorous, robust process to develop free
trade agreement with certain African countries. And in the last
6 years has anything, what is the status of that?
Ms. Liser. The U.S.-SACU Free Trade Agreement negotiations,
we essentially came to point where we realized that their goals
for the negotiations and ours, in terms of what Congress
expects us to do in a free trade negotiation, we have what we
consider to be gold standards for our free trade agreements,
and the SACU countries were not in a position at that time to
Since then we have pursued with them a Trade and Investment
Framework Agreement with the five SACU countries, and so we are
trying to address some of the trade and investment challenges
and issues that we have with those five countries through that
I would just mention one other thing that is a new trade
and investment initiative that we are pursing with the five
East African Community countries. And within that we hope to
negotiate a regional investment treaty instead of a bilateral
one, one country at a time. And this would be innovative. We
have never done that before. So we would do a regional
investment treaty and then we would also seek to negotiate with
them, agreements on some key areas such as trade facilitation
or standards. And by doing so we think that that would improve
the business environment on their end. It would help U.S.
businesses to be able to take advantage of the markets in East
Africa, which as you know includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania,
Burundi and Uganda, and we also believe that it would support
So I mention that to make the point that we are trying to
find new kinds of tools and trying to see if we can use those
to advance the relationship. We know that many things have
changed since AGOA came into a place in 2001, and we cannot
depend in 2012 solely on AGOA in order to advance our trade
investment relationship with them.
Finally, there are the bilateral investment treaties. And I
do think that those are also important both for protecting the
rights of U.S. investors in countries and also helping to
improve the overall business environment in those countries as
Mr. Rush. Well, in your opinion, how far are we away, this
is an estimate on your part and I know this, this is looking
into the future. From where we stand now, how far are we away
from either a bilateral free trade agreement with an African
country other than Morocco, a sub-Saharan African country, how
far are we away either from an original free trade agreement or
a bilateral free trade agreement?
Ms. Liser. I think that we are actually getting to a point
where we want to sit down, as we are looking at extending AGOA,
it is a perfect time and opportunity to sit down with the
countries in sub-Saharan Africa and particularly some of the
key ones, and to say to them that as we consider on the U.S.
side extending AGOA, we also want to explore other
possibilities including potential free trade agreements with
some of the countries.
And I think that it is more of a challenge to negotiate
with a group of countries. It is far more difficult because
then you are dealing with laws and regulations across a group.
But we do think that as opposed to what the Europeans are
doing, we don't want to break apart the regional groupings that
they have. We think we should honor and respect what they are
trying to do.
So again we hope that this new initiative that we have
launched with the East African Community could be a building
block for a free trade agreement with them. That by the time we
have negotiated what we call chapters, a chapter on investment,
that is what the regional investment treaty would be, a chapter
on standards. A chapter on trade facilitation. A chapter on
customs rules. That those are the very chapters that go into an
So through this process we do see that this may be an
avenue to that and then beyond that I think that we will be
discussing over the next year or 2 with some of the other
African countries what are the possibilities for bilateral free
Mr. Rush. I would like to ask both of you a yes or no
question. It is a simple yes or no question. Do you think the
U.S. has enough commercial officers in the various hubs in
Africa, especially in those countries that are considered as
economically advanced? Yes or no?
Ambassador Carson. Congressman Rush, Secretary Clinton has
been very, very definitive in stating that every American
ambassador is a commercial officer on behalf of the United
States Government. Every Embassy is a commercial Embassy as
much as it is a political Embassy. So if you operate under the
notion that our ambassadors are doing commercial work, that our
Embassies are representing American business and commercial
interest, we are represented universally.
Mr. Rush. Is that a yes answer? Is that a yes?
Ambassador Carson. Congressman Rush, I thought I had
slipped around that. But let me say, the assignment of
commercial officers overseas is a responsibility of the
Department of Commerce. So I think that that again, like the
Ex-Im Bank question, is one that should be directed at the
Department of Commerce.
But again my response is, Secretary Clinton's strategy and
policy is very clear that we believe in economic statecraft and
diplomacy. Every American ambassador overseas is supposed to be
working on behalf of American business interest as much as our
foreign policy and political and security interest. And each
one of our Embassies should, in fact, be a projection of our
values at home including our business and commercial values.
Mr. Rush. Ms. Liser, yes or no?
Ms. Liser. My one word answer is ditto, everything that the
Ambassador has said, thank you.
Ms. Bass. So if that is the answer then could you explain
what in addition those offices would do? Because it sounds like
they are not really needed because the Embassy does all that,
so what in addition would they do?
Ambassador Carson. The things that they bring to the table
are a closer relationship with the American business community.
They bring to bear a network of offices around the United
States that are in direct contact with both large and small and
medium sized enterprises, some that are frequently not aware of
the potential and opportunities that exist in Africa.
As I understand it, the Department of Commerce operates a
number of regional offices around the United States where they
are engaged in helping small, medium sized and large businesses
to find markets and to find opportunities. They can help in
that way probably in a more direct sense than we can.
We have a number of specialists in the field who do
economic and financial work. They bring to bear specialties in
trade promotion, identification of trade opportunities, the
ability to find companies that fit into a marketplace to fill a
tender that may add a degree of fidelity and expertise that we
may not always know.
We all know Boeing. We all know GE. We all know the very
large players. But as my colleague said earlier, if we are
looking for smaller companies in the United States that are
unfamiliar with the marketplace, there may be commercial
offices in the United States who can be linked up to fill that
niche that may be useful in Ethiopia or Nigeria or South
Africa. They have a role to play, but again I go back to the
statement that I said, as an ambassador overseas today in
Africa, the job is not simply dealing with political issues or
refugees or security issues, it is dealing with commercial
issues as well. We are trying to promote that seriously and
Mr. Rush. In the interest of time I really would like to
insist upon a yes or no answer to the following question. Do
you believe efforts should remain to accelerate African
regional integration, yes or no?
Ambassador Carson. Absolutely, yes.
Mr. Rush. Ms. Liser?
Ms. Liser. Yes.
Mr. Rush. Do you believe cultural understanding and
appreciation is a powerful tool to advancing our commercial and
Ms. Liser. I will take the first yes on this one.
Ambassador Carson. The answer is yes, better understanding
never hurt anyone.
Mr. Rush. All right. In 10 years of AGOA, African countries
still need technical assistance to further benefit from the
preferential treatment especially in the non-oil sector. Now
that we know that the African diaspora is one of the best
educated demographic groups around the world and is willing to
trade, do you believe that they could fill that gap, members of
Ms. Liser. I know you wanted a one-word answer, but I want
to say that not only is the answer yes, but that we are
actually seeing that right now. I have visited factories and
facilities in different African countries where had it not been
for African diaspora who had moved from the U.S. back to their
home countries, those factories and businesses would not have
been established. So yes, and we would like to see much more of
Mr. Rush. Ambassador Carson?
Ambassador Carson. The answer is yes, diaspora can make a
very significant contribution to the continued and sustained
development of the countries from which they or their parents
may have come from.
Mr. Rush. And do you believe that--I know you can't take a
position on supporting or non-support of this bill, but do you
believe that this bill would help to address some of the
obstacles to further developing trade with the African
Ambassador Carson. To give that a single word answer would
not do justice to the bill and it would break the neutrality
that we have with respect to it at this point.
Ms. Liser. I would also say that we have been looking at
the goals of the bill, and I think while we certainly cannot
say that the administration supports the bill, I think that we
share with you a number of the goals that are reflected in it.
Mr. Rush. And finally, how do you suggest that we engage
the diaspora to help them participate in the furtherance of the
growth of the African economies?
Ms. Liser. Well, I think that there are a number of ways
that that can happen and is happening. And I know that I have
personally participated in a number of conferences and seminars
all around the country that have been organized by various
diaspora groups. And where they had delegations and trade
missions that had come from their particular country, and asked
us to come and be a part of a 1-day conference or seminar where
that particular diaspora along with their businesses that had
traveled from the capital wanted to sit down and learn more
about U.S.-Africa trade, AGOA, et cetera.
So these organizations actually are in my view very
important. They are active. I won't say that for every single
country that they have an active organization, but again, for
the ones that are relatively active I think they are doing a
And I would end by saying that I also remember a few years
ago we had meant with a group of Cape Verdeans, American Cape
Verdeans, and talked about this, and then they decided that
they wanted to take a mission of Cape Verdeans from the U.S. to
Cape Verde to try to see what kinds of business opportunities
they could explore with their Cape Verdean brothers and
sisters. And when they came back from that I was pleased to
hear about several of them that had been launched and further
follow-up that they were going to be doing.
So they were taking their skills, their knowledge of the
U.S. market, their resources and then the connections that they
had with family and others there in Cape Verde to do that. And
they are not the only ones who have done it but I just wanted
to use that as an example.
Ambassador Carson. Congressman Rush, I think one of the
most effective ways to find out about the African diaspora is
to make contact with the Embassies and the ambassadors of the
African countries that are in Washington, most of whom try to
keep a fairly good and elaborate list of their citizens or
their dual-national citizens who are in the United States.
Contacting those Embassies, finding out the names and
leaders of the various diaspora groups, where they are located
in the United States, is one way to reach out to that diaspora
community. I think that many of the Embassies and many of the
African ambassadors meet on a fairly regular basis with
diaspora communities around the United States, and using them
as points of reference or intermediaries is always helpful.
There are also a number of groups in Washington and some
outside of Washington that also try to maintain contacts with
the African diaspora without sort of showing favoritism toward
the one or another of them. There are these groups that are
around and they too have good relationships with various
communities across the United States.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Rush. Let me just in concluding
ask if it would be unreasonable to ask that within a month or
so, say mid-May, if you could get back to us with what
recommendations you think would improve the bill, and hopefully
an overall statement of either support or opposition. Because
like I said, delay could easily be denial as the clock ticks
out for the end of this session. So if you could get back to us
I would appreciate it.
And getting back to the Foreign Commercial Service
officers, AGOA envisioned 14. The number is less than that and
seems to be going in the opposite direction. Our legislation
would say not less than 14. Believing that while the ambassador
may work with the Boeings and the larger corporations, he or
she would be less likely to be as effective just given all the
time constraints they have with all their huge portfolio to
deal with many of the midsize or small businesses, which is
where that commercial officer could come in. So thank you.
If you could get back, would that be reasonable?
Ambassador Carson. Mr. Chairman, absolutely very
reasonable. Absolutely no question we will get back to you.
Mr. Smith. Thank you both for your service and for your
Ambassador Carson. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. I would like to now ask our second panel if they
could make their way to the witness table. Beginning first with
Isaiah Washington, who is an acclaimed actor best known for, or
known for his role in the ABC drama, Grey's Anatomy, among many
other films and stage roles.
After discovering ancestry that led him back to Sierra
Leone, he traveled there and established his foundation, the
Gondobay Manga Foundation, which has since opened its first
school. He was a guest of the first White House Summit on
Malaria in 2010. Named as advisor to President Koroma of the
Republic of Sierra Leone in 2008, during the U.N. General
Assembly, Mr. Washington was given the honor of being the first
African-American to be bestowed full citizenship of Sierra
Leone since it was granted to W.E.B. DuBois, back in the 1950s.
We will then hear from Mr. Scott Eisner, who is currently
the Executive Director of the Africa Business Initiative at the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the Chamber, Mr.
Eisner worked in international politics working for the
International Republican Institute in Malawi, Africa. He has
held numerous positions within the Chamber prior to his current
post, and has focused much of his effort toward strengthening
U.S.-Africa trade relations and promoting the interests of the
American business community throughout the continent.
We will then hear from Reginald Maynor, who is Director of
the International Division of Luster Products, Incorporated. He
has 35 years of professional sales experience as well as
extensive travels throughout Africa. Throughout his 23 years at
Luster, Mr. Maynor has increased international sales
substantially, managed a satellite manufacturing facility in
South Africa and led Luster Products to receive Exporter of the
Year in 2002, Minority Exporter of the Year for the U.S.
Government, and several other recognitions. Mr. Maynor oversees
all international trade and has always had a focus on
empowerment and professional growth paying special attention to
Mr. Washington, if you would proceed.
STATEMENT OF MR. ISAIAH WASHINGTON, ACTOR, PRESIDENT, GONDOBAY
MANGA FOUNDATION (SIERRA LEONE)
Mr. Washington. Good afternoon. I would like to thank
Chairman Chris Smith and Ranking Member Karen Bass for inviting
me to testify before this subcommittee, as well as Congressman
Bobby Rush. I think the Increasing American Jobs Through
Greater Exports To Africa Act of 2012 is an important means of
making U.S.-Africa trade more beneficial to Americans, which
will make the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and
other trade measures aimed at increasing U.S.-Africa trade more
attractive to those who are not directly involved in African
issues. I am particularly interested in the impact that this
bill can have on encouraging the African diaspora in America,
both the traditional diaspora members such as myself and those
who more recently came to this country.
Since I discovered my own connection to the Mende and Temne
people of Sierra Leone, I have felt compelled to contribute to
the reconstruction of Sierra Leone, which is recovering from a
destructive civil war, and now soon on April 27th, will be
celebrating its 51st year of independence with 10 years of
The Gondobay Manga Foundation that I have established works
cooperatively with Sierra Leoneans to achieve interventions
that meet and have met the genuine needs and not just engage in
activities to satisfy my need to help. We have collaborated to
build schools and provide clean water, and more broadly we are
working with top universities of the United States and abroad
to establish internships that will spur academic and community
Topics and specialties being pursued include African-
American studies, the history of the tranatlantic slave trade,
the plight of child soldiers, agricultural development and
mechanized farming, hospital administration, women's health
issues, tropical disease research and urban planning. My
efforts are part of a growing trend of members of the African
diaspora who are reconnecting with their homelands or the
homelands of their ancestors.
I have looked at this example as well as my heroes, the
late Reverend Leon H. Sullivan, who spent a great deal of his
life connecting African-Americans and others to countries in
Africa. Organizations he founded such as Opportunities
Industrialization Centers International and the International
Foundation for Education and Self Help have helped members of
the diaspora and others who volunteered their skills to teach
young people in Africa or take part in training programs for
African entrepreneurs and farmers. I personally use Reverend
Sullivan as a model for achieving sustainability and my
citizenship. One village, one region, and one country.
In November 2007, my foundation opened its first school,
Chief Foday Golia Memorial School in Njala Kendema village for
150 students in grades K through 5 that I am now proud to say
that has grown to 400 students. The new school named in honor
of the former leader of the village replaced two grass huts
that was not suited for their occupants. Since then, others in
the diaspora have built wells and undertaken other projects to
the benefit of the African people, and some have used
remittances to their home countries to meet the needs of their
families. Increasingly both the traditional diaspora and the
recent diaspora here in America have looked toward investing in
A report released a few years ago by Merrill Lynch, a
leading international investment company, indicated that while
Africa offers investors tremendous opportunities, there is too
little available information on African markets and by
extension, the companies listed on those markets.
Liquidafrica.com is one of the few sources of information on
African exchanges and their listed companies, but it is not as
widely known as other sources of investment information.
Magazines such as Fortune, Business Week and even Black
Enterprise do not cover African exchanges or companies on a
consistent basis, with the result that American investors
remain largely unaware of available opportunities. Return on
investment in Africa has averaged nearly 30 percent over the
last decade. On African stock exchanges the most profitable
sectors are banks, real estate, and hotels and tourism.
Recently the International Monetary Fund rated the Nigerian
Stock Exchange as the best in the world in terms of returns.
The Nigerian Exchange beat fellow exchanges in developing
countries such as South Africa, Turkey, India, Brazil, and the
United Arab Emirates. In fact, the Nigerian Exchange beat out
the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange
purely on a rate of return, in the IMF report. Of course the
Johannesburg Stock Exchange is still the African market
capitalization leader at $561 billion.
The advances on African exchanges occurred within a broad
range of companies including banking such as the Mauritius
Commercial Bank, telecoms in Zimbabwe's ECONET, industrials in
the Nigerian cement, breweries such as the East African
breweries of Kenya, and there are many others waiting for the
partnerships and investment to reach the next level that this
bill could provide, creating jobs and wealth for countless
The African-American market in the United States is an
excellent match for African investment destinations. Being
increasingly sought after by investment companies due to rising
purchasing power, America's largest racial minority had a
combined purchasing power of $318 billion in 1990. Eighteen
years later that purchasing power had grown to $913 billion and
is predicted to reach $1.2 trillion by 2013. According to a
2005 study by Juice Market Research, African-American investors
were ``considerably more likely than the general population of
investors to have a variety of investment products such as
stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities.''
Prior to the global economic meltdown, this tendency
attracted companies such as Charles Schwab, Smith Barney,
American Express, and Merrill Lynch, which has formed
partnerships with African-American professional associations
and other groups to encourage investment by this group of
investors through their firms.
Higher income African-American investors reached a peak in
terms of percentage of investing in the early years of this new
century. An estimated 74 percent of African-Americans who
earned more than $50,000 owned stocks in 2002, closing the gap
between them and similarly situated white investors whose
percentage reached 84 percent that year. Many of these gains
have been eroded by the global recession, and still African-
American investors continue to invest in real estate rather
than stocks even in a difficult economy. The consensus is that
this is largely due to a lack of knowledge about the investment
opportunities, which would certainly include African
This is why I am establishing my new company, the Hira
International Investment Group. The mission of HIIG is to help
transform, first Sierra Leone, and then the rest of West Africa
in stages, by strategically leveraging financial and human
capital to profitably and ethically develop land, natural
resources and human resources. HIIG will identify and apply the
necessary resources to achieve its mission by utilizing its own
expertise and connections while providing experts on a project
basis. HIIG also will create alliances with qualified companies
and organizations to accomplish specific tasks.
Since I started my foundation and began to become more
involved in Sierra Leone, I have had numerous inquiries, and I
mean numerous, about business opportunities in Sierra Leone
from investors from around the world. I have been overwhelmed,
graciously so. Your bill could encourage American investors to
recognize and take advantage of the opportunities in Sierra
Leone and throughout the rest of ECOWAS, West Africa. I chose
Sierra Leone as a starting point because that is where my
ancestors are from and that is where my mother is from, and
women should always come first.
West Africa is a region of Africa from which most members
of the African diaspora here in America have originated. There
is so much work to do in this region of West Africa that I am
willing to leave other regions for those who have the desire
and to invest and partner with other African businesses. This
bill could be the catalyst to open the floodgates of American
investment and business to business relationships with African
partners that will fulfill the promise of AGOA and create more
development than any aid program could ever hope to achieve.
Thank you for introducing this bill, and I urge you to do
all you can to pass it.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Washington follows:]
Mr. Smith. Mr. Washington, thank you very much for that
statement, and Ms. Bass and I were just talking, you never hear
this talked about on CNBC as it ought to be. And so thank you
for your testimony and for your leadership.
I would like to ask Mr. Eisner now if he would present his
testimony to the committee.
STATEMENT OF MR. SCOTT EISNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AFRICA
BUSINESS INITIATIVE, UNITED STATES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Mr. Eisner. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking
Member Bass, Mr. Rush, the staff of the committee. I think you
guys do a terrific job and we are here to support you in any
way we can. I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify
today on a region of importance to U.S. trade, investment and
Against the backdrop of sagging economic activity in so
many emerging markets, sub-Saharan Africa is an investment
destination that can no longer be overlooked regardless of the
sector in question. Six out of the ten fastest growing
economies in the world over the past decade are found in sub-
Looking forward, demographic trends suggest that by 2050,
one in four workers in the world will be African and the
continent will have over 1 billion people living on it. Compare
this to China's one in eight workers and the buzz over China's
untapped market, and we can begin to see the magnitude of the
opportunity at stake in Africa. It is time for the U.S. to be
creative and aggressive and to position our country in a way
that will make us commercially competitive with the biggest
international presence on the continent, namely China. It is
time to move away from a strictly aid-focused model to one of
private sector-led development. And why would we do this?
Because we have learned over time that market-based solutions
are the only real path to economic stability and long-term
So our challenge now is to operationalize the opportunities
that Africa affords, to develop specific strategies and to
mechanisms to promote U.S. business engagement throughout
Africa or risk being left behind. That is the goal of the
Chamber's Africa Business Initiative. To encourage the U.S.
Government to pursue policies that foster foreign direct
investment, facilitate U.S. trade with African countries,
expose our companies to the vast economic opportunities across
the continent, use our foreign assistance in ways which will
help Africans develop as manufacturers, workers and consumers,
and to expand the role of our AmChams across the continent. And
we can talk more about this in the question and answer session.
I will note that Sierra Leone was the latest of our AmChams to
come on board as full accreditation.
The fact of the matter is, when it comes to seeing new
opportunities for trade and investment in Africa we are really
not alone. Over the last 10 years, investment in Africa from
China, India, and Brazil have increased eightfold. Over the
same period, U.S. trade with Africa has increased by just a
multiple of three. The U.S. Export-Import Bank support to
projects in sub-Saharan Africa has risen from an average of
$455 million annually between 2006 and 2009, to $1.4 billion in
Fiscal Year 2011. And yet even at this rate of growth, the U.S.
still plays a distant second to China's Ex-Im Bank, which
commits over $6 billion annually.
So what policy initiatives can help us level this playing
field, the playing field on this last emerging market as we see
it? Let us start with this act and the passage of the
Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports To Africa Act,
which the Chamber believes would be a clear signal that the
U.S. Government takes seriously its role in stimulating greater
foreign direct investment from the U.S. to Africa. Let us also
take steps to ensure that American firms seeking to break into
African markets have commercial support in our Embassies. For
years the Foreign Commercial Services officers in missions
across the continent have provided valuable on the ground
assistance to American companies in Africa. But now just as
many in the American business community are beginning to focus
on Africa in earnest, the Foreign Commercial Services footprint
is shrinking. And if that decline isn't reversed the U.S.
economy will pay a price in lost deals and decreased
In the same spirit, the U.S. Chamber continues to support
more Africa-targeted funding from U.S. Government agencies that
are already successful supporting U.S. investment in emerging
markets. That begins with a full and speedy reauthorization of
the Ex-Im Bank and in coming months the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation. These two agencies along with the U.S.
Trade Development Agency have critical roles to play as Africa
moves into the global market. Traditional foreign aid can also
be creatively deployed for public health. This is one area that
materially and positively impacts Africans as employees,
consumers and business partners.
The Chamber also supports the effort to establish
formalized trade and investment treaties with U.S. and African
regional economic communities. The gains from these agreements
are indisputable. For example, following the trade investment
framework agreement between the United States and the EAC in
2008, U.S. exports to this bloc shot up by roughly 33 percent.
Finally there is AGOA. It is not only good for the
economies of sub-Saharan Africa but it also offers tangible
benefits for U.S. companies here at home. The action here is
urgent. AGOA's expiration in 2013 threatens to undermine the
significant gains that African economies have made under this
program. As early as this September, AGOA's third country
fabric provision is slated to expire, directly threatening not
only tens of thousands of jobs across the continent but also,
and this is key, the good standing of the United States as a
reliable partner for Africa's development. We need to extend
and expand AGOA, not let it expire.
I presented the opportunities but I would be remiss if I
did not discuss some of the risks. We have a very small window
of opportunity here of 3-5 years to economically engage in
Africa or risk being left behind. The demand for high quality
U.S. goods and services by those living in Africa is
dramatically increasing, but in the not too distant future our
competition in these will improve the quality of their products
to match that of ours, and our European competitors will have
trading preferences that we don't enjoy due to their aggressive
economic partnership agreements. So if we don't act now we
might as well hang an out-to-lunch sign on the U.S. as it
relates to doing business in Africa.
As I close, I want to draw your attention to an interesting
thought that a South African friend recently shared with me. He
said, as the U.S. economic focus is pivoting toward the BRIC
markets, and mainly Asia and Brazil, they, the BRICS are
pivoting toward Africa. The question is, what is it that they
know that you don't?
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber, I would like
to thank this committee for affording me the opportunity to
testify. As I said at the outset, Africa must increasingly
become a key trading partner and investment destination for
American companies, and the Chamber stands ready to assist in
any way we can. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Eisner follows:]
Mr. Smith. Thank you so very much for your testimony and
I would like to now ask, Mr. Maynor, if you would present
STATEMENT OF MR. REGINALD MAYNOR, DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL
DEPARTMENT, LUSTER PRODUCTS INCORPORATED
Mr. Maynor. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Bass and members
of the committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to
address this committee on the subject of U.S. jobs and trade
with the African continent. Today I provide a summary of my
full remarks which I plan to submit for the record.
The late Fred Luster, Sr., founded Luster Products in 1957.
As the company matured, the focus on international trade and
the opportunity within the diaspora became a priority. We are
glad to see that clean water is a focus for African growth,
because we as a company have drilled 20 wells, ourselves, in
West Africa. We employ over 350 people worldwide with a
corporate office in Chicago, But we believe in conducting
business in such a manner as to be a positive role model to the
community, to maintain the highest moral and ethical standards
We have a rich history of doing business in Africa for the
past 30 years. We currently sell approximately, U.S. dollars,
$2 million in West Africa, $1.5 million in Southern Africa and
$1.5 million in East Africa. Though these may be modest numbers
against some of our colleagues and multinational companies, it
has been a very viable business proposition for us as a
company. We have a virtual office in South Africa and we
manufacture a few items from our range within South Africa.
But what we have found is that by having an office and a
manufacturing plant in South Africa that we grew our exports as
a result of local presence. So having set up in another country
did not affect our exports. Our exports actually grew. The
region with the most long-term potential is sub-Saharan Africa
and all of the countries within that territory. Each of these
regions have their own unique way of conducting business, but
in that uniqueness is great opportunity.
I see the transformation of a hair stylist when you teach
them a new technique and some fundamental business practices. I
see the glow in the consumer's eyes when you do a makeover
style that is both different but practical for their lifestyle.
Unbeknownst to a lot of people, the hair care business is one
of the largest entrepreneurial enterprises for people of color
and women specifically.
I see the respect that we get as a byproduct of also having
given it first. And we pride ourselves in being ambassadors of
sorts for the U.S., to demonstrate that we have a level of
commitment to quality and excellence that cannot be rivaled
anywhere else in the world.
Our biggest challenge is being able to sustain business in
Africa. As a small minority-owned business we do not have the
ability to extend credit to African companies that want to be
long-term customers. Low interest loans would be a benefit both
here and abroad. Some of our more mature markets are either
flat or challenged due to external forces from multinational
companies, cheaper goods, some of which could be counterfeit or
deceivingly similar with inferior ingredients. So trademark
enforcement is a key.
Our unwillingness to conduct in any back room agreements
just to solidify business has at times been a barrier to
growth. But we find that once you establish the rules of
engagement most people will comply. And to this I say that
business can be done in an ethical manner in Africa.
Our experience with Ex-Im Bank has been up and down with
regards to validating accounts. We feel that this process could
be refined. There is a need for government to government
cooperation with regards to trade restrictions, duties and
trademark protections. We actually had a case in South Africa.
Infrastructure incentives for U.S. companies would also help to
make us more competitive.
We all know the potential for Africa has never been
greater. Our task is to help improve the economical well being
of its people, to raise their standard of living and offer them
the commitment to training, opportunity and the biggest
commodity of all, hope. This bill would definitely help U.S.
companies to grow because you will have created a solid bridge
to the future that is dependent on quality goods. And it must
be a win-win scenario where empowerment is just as important as
Our plans at Luster Products is to grow our African trade
by at least 100 percent in the next 5 years. We also plan on
restructuring our South African operation in order to better
take advantage of the realities of that region. And we are
always seeking new opportunities on the continent with a
pioneering spirit as we as Americans always do.
And in conclusion I would once again like to say thank you
for the opportunity to address this committee, and I would
especially like to thank my Congressman, Bobby Rush. I look
forward to answering any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Maynor follows:]
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Maynor. Thanks to all
three of you, your testimonies are outstanding. They provided
us with a blueprint for action. I think having the Chamber
strongly supporting this legislation is huge, because I think
as all of you have pointed out, the opportunities for Americans
and for American investors have been largely ignored and under-
recognized. I mean I didn't know that return on investment in
Africa, as Mr. Washington, you pointed out, has averaged nearly
30 percent over the last decade. When most Americans are losing
their 401(k)s, had they been invested elsewhere, in Africa,
they would have been doing quite well.
So again I want to thank you on behalf of the committee for
your humanitarian work as well as in Sierra Leone. This
subcommittee and I personally for years worked on the court
there. David Crane was our chief prosecutor. And the pain and
suffering endured by the people of Sierra Leone is
incalculable. And to be on the ground helping out with
education and other initiatives is, it needs to be praised for
the great work that it is.
The idea of Ex-Im Bank going out of business as you pointed
out, is disconcerting in the extreme, especially as it relates
to Africa. And you might want to expand upon that if you would.
I think the point you made of the U.S. playing second fiddle to
China export credit agencies, which are committing
approximately $6 billion compared to our $1.4 billion, it seems
that we are missing the boat by a large amount, which is why we
are promoting this bill.
We think we need to reenergize, refocus, recalculate, and
really get all the agencies--and Ambassador Carson is a very,
very effective Secretary and as he was Ambassador, but we don't
have the coordination among Commerce and among all the other
disparate agencies that we need to really have a well honed
strategy for Africa.
So thank you for that support and for your comments, all of
you, but if any of you would like to, and you especially, Mr.
Eisner, on the issue of what happens to Africa and to U.S.
businesses there if Ex-Im goes out of business.
Mr. Eisner. Sure, I would be happy to answer that. The fact
that we are playing such a catch-up role, and it is not just to
China, it is to the lending institutions around the world as
was said by a predecessor, the previous panel. It is the Indias
of the world, the Turkeys, the Canadians right across our
border up to the North are playing a hockey game around us, and
we are just kind of standing still looking at the future kind
of questioning where it is going.
And that is why we feel at the Chamber, we really need to
look at not just the--in the Foreign Commercial Services arena
I understand that there is some 50 economies that they have
identified as why they have pared down some of their operations
in Africa. And while that is great that we are looking at the
50 current economies, we are not looking at the next 50. And I
think that is some of the struggles that we applaud this bill
for is looking beyond where we are today to seeing where our
customers are going to be in the future and where our exports
are going to be driven, and that is clearly to Africa.
So the fact that the Senate and the House are taking so
long to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank is disconcerting to the
business community. The fact that there is even a debate about
the validity of the Ex-Im Bank I think is a little interesting
to say the least. I will hold the words back a little bit. But
the Bank runs out of, I think, funds at their $100 million cap
at the end of this month or early next month, and without swift
action by the Congress we are going to be left with a lot of
people around the world scratching their heads wondering why is
the U.S. turning around and turning its back on global
And that is the question I leave here today wondering is
how do we do that as a country that has been looking so
expansively across the years, and to figure out how we are just
looking so insularly when all of our markets are broad. And our
friends from Luster here, I think, have pointed it out that
they know where the market is and it is called Africa.
Mr. Smith. Let me just ask you, comment if you would like,
any of you, but I have actually chaired 40 hearings over the
years on China's human rights violations, and many of those
hearings have focused on the one-child-per-couple policy that
has resulted in some 100 million missing girls. Forty to fifty
million men won't be able to find wives by 2020. The women have
been exterminated through sex-selection abortions. The other
side of that issue that has not been focused on enough is that
they are going to have such an aging population with such a
small number, relatively speaking, of working men because the
women are gone proportionally, that China will find itself
economically coming apart at the seams.
Not so with Africa, where you pointed out, Mr. Eisner, 25
percent of the global workforce will be in Africa, sub-Saharan
Africa, by 2050. And that shows, again if we want to make a
bet, a prudent bet where is the future, it is in Africa. It is
not in China. It is committing suicide, frankly, with its one-
child-per-couple policy. I would note parenthetically that I am
very concerned about people at the U.N. Population Fund and in
Beijing trying to impose on Africa what they have imposed upon
themselves. That is, child limitation policies.
And they are being aggressively, virtually every African
health minister 3 years ago was invited to Beijing for a week
of wining and dining, and the argument was made that if you
want economic growth that approximates what is going on in
China, follow the Chinese model. Limit children, because they
are an anathema to economic growth. Nothing could be further
from the truth. It doesn't bear out empirically, but some have
bought into that snake oil. I hope that would be resisted by
our African friends because the argument has surface appeal,
but it doesn't hold up under scrutiny.
But again, where is the workforce, where is the action
going to be? Seems to me it couldn't be clearer. It will be in
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, please excuse me, but if I just
could interrupt just for a quick second. I had a meeting
scheduled previously with the noted musician and performer,
Styx, so he is there and I wanted to come out. I think that
with Isaiah here and Styx in the same room at the same time, I
mean this is a rare moment.
So Mr. Chairman, thank you. I just wanted to let him--in
the same room with Isaiah Washington at the same time.
Mr. Smith. We ought to get a picture together.
Mr. Rush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Washington. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. Okay, just--Mr. Washington?
Mr. Washington. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I do appreciate
your sentiment. And I do agree by actually 2040, Africa is
going to be one of the youngest markets out there looking for
opportunities to be consumers to new consumers. I know for a
fact in Sierra Leone, which is no bigger than the state of
South Carolina, the former child soldiers there are now very
entrepreneurial. But if they are not, their issues and their
needs for their children and their families are not addressed
immediately, then they already know how to do their former job
during the civil war.
All of these countries, every time anything goes on in
Liberia or Guinea, I hold my breath. As long as Guinea is doing
well or Liberia is doing well then I feel really good about
Sierra Leone. They are all intertwined as far as I am
Although my frustration is the same question, is what is
the problem? Is it psychological? Is it philosophical? Is it
guilt? Is it just denial, or what is the problem? Why hasn't
the great United States with access to trillions of dollars--I
had this conversation with Congressman Conyers 3 years ago.
Numerous attendants to Congressional Black Caucus', and I have
collected over 250 business cards. And I haven't had one call
asking me to bring them in--unbelievable. I have access to
6,500 hectares of arable land right there in Sierra Leone that
is rife to grow anything from cotton to sorghum to sugar to
anything you want, but there is zero interest.
And it is really interesting. I have some people that come
up to me, and I think with many of us there is this trauma,
this thing that no one wants to talk about, slavery. Many
business persons based on--I have had African-American business
persons based on their skin being lighter than mine, that was
their only reason they didn't want to invest in Africa--because
they were afraid that they would be accused of being European
So I think there is a big conversation that needs to be had
beyond economics or beyond numbers and charts. And we have to
really get down to the nitty-gritty, excuse me, on what it is
that we are doing, what it is that we are saying when we use
the word liberty, prosperity, and we the people and democracy.
Why is it that it appears when I travel abroad all over Africa
I have to answer for 315, 318 million Americans now that they
now I am a citizen of Sierra Leone, and then when I am here I
have to answer for 1 billion people on the continent of Africa.
So I am hoping that H.R. 4221 is passed by this Kenyan-
American who happens to be the most powerful man in the world,
named President Barack Hussein Obama, so I can get a break. I
thought that by becoming a dual citizen one would have the
freedoms of being able to be revered. But actually I realize it
is more problematic because I am asked more questions. And I am
here to help support this bill, hopefully get it passed so we
can really have some serious conversation about how we can
actually galvanize, oh, close to $1.3 trillion or more that can
help a very, very sagging economy here. So the $1 trillion
question is: ``What are the American people, or should I say
the American legislature and Executive orders waiting on?''
Mr. Maynor. Yes, and I would just like to add that my
experience in Africa dealing with women specifically, because I
am in the hair care business, there are a lot of salon owners.
They run their families. They send their children to school.
They feed the community. And what we find is that when you
impart knowledge and education and give them different skill
sets they become buoyant. They become excited. And they
treasure U.S. goods.
This is not hype. This is not hyperbole. They want U.S.
goods, they desire U.S. goods. But the hardest part is being
able to either afford them or get them. And the experience that
we are having with counterfeit goods coming out of China, I
mean I have literally lost 80 percent of my business in Nigeria
from counterfeits, because price points. But then if there is a
product that looks like mine, doesn't smell like mine but could
be mine, now I am the owner. I am the bad guy. I am the
responsible person that has now brought this negative and bad
product to the community.
And so we are diligent in fighting this propaganda. We are
diligent in trying to secure goods. But as you can appreciate,
it is not always easy to prove the fact. Now we know it is
going on but how do you prove it? How do you have recourse? And
those are the things that we are trying to deal with in Africa.
But we know the potential.
And to your concern, Mr. Chairman, about women and the
possibility of the Chinese mindset, I don't necessarily see
that happening in Africa but it could, relative to pressure. It
could, relative to economic strength from China saying hey, if
you don't do this we won't do that. And the economics tend to
shift the dynamic, shift the mindset, shift your ethics. And we
as Americans are always strong on ethics, morals, standards,
quality. If we continue to be a second class citizen with
regards to courting Africa, I think it would be a travesty to
be quite honest.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Maynor, has the U.S. Trade Representative
been of any help to you as China has stolen your products and
Mr. Maynor. No, they have not. I honestly haven't had any
experience with the trade representatives here to be quite
honest, and that could be as much my fault as any. But in
talking with Congresswoman Bass, we spoke about the fact of
centralized information. There are a lot of things that I heard
here today that I did not know existed relative to assistance
for international trade. Now again I could be at fault. I am
the director of the department. I should know those things.
But where is the consensus view? Where is the database?
Where is the mindset or the process by which to disseminate
that information to myself and people like us? I am the
diaspora. I am proud of being that and I know that the reaction
that I have. And I work with a lot of Africans who have come
here who are U.S. citizens, and they are a wealth of knowledge
and input with regards to going back to Africa because they can
sometimes help us circumvent the learning curve and the
hindrances of dealing with the wrong individuals. And so the
diaspora is very important.
Mr. Smith. Our bill would establish a special Africa Export
Strategy Coordinator, and if you look at who would be included
in the coordinating mechanism established by the bill, it will
ensure that everyone is on the same page rather than all these
stovepipes, which is not unlike what we used to have with our
intelligence community before 9/11. The left hand never knew
what the right hand was doing. So this is what this seeks to
rectify in part.
Any other comments before we----
Mr. Washington. I would like to piggyback on what Mr.
Maynor is saying. It is my experience over the last 6 years on
the ground is that many of the individuals will continue to
accept donorship if it is continued to come. But the majority
of them, and what I decided before I went into Sierra Leone is
to study the history of the people, their reactions to various
uprisings, upheavals, and decided to ask, myself is not to go
in as a missionary mindset, is to go in and ask five questions.
When I first hit the ground and put a delegation together
with the support of NAACP, with Bruce Gordon, gave me
Crystalline Kirk. I brought an architect to do an assessment of
what we see, the human rights assessments. I brought a doctor
to give me assessment in there, and asked five questions. And
the first thing I would ask is, what are the top five things
that you would change about this country or your living
standards, if you could? The first thing was always corruption.
The second thing was job creation. The third thing was the
eradication of malaria, and the fourth thing was cleanliness,
and the fifth thing was basically being able to just have their
It is really, really interesting the education was last,
but I found out that if you have poverty then you are going to
have corruption, and it is not the other way around. And I
think that is the stigma that has been running rampant, where
even myself with all of the support.
And I have to honor the Bockari Stevens' and Michael Owens
and the ambassadors there that I have been working with, but
they have been rendered pretty much ineffective because they
are considered politicians. Whereas I show up, I show up as,
they don't know me as Dr. Burke, in the bush. They know me as
an African-American who kept his word. They know me as an
African-American who asked five questions and delivered in a
In fact, when I was building the school in the village I
found out that my architect, he lost some workers. After about
3 months of building all my workers left even though they were
being paid on time, they left. And they came back about 2
months later. It took about 8 months to build the school. It
was really supposed to be a year but we pushed by 8 months to
deliver before the President was being elected so he could use
that as what is good is happening in Sierra Leone.
And when they returned they were in shock that the school
was still being built and that there was a cash flow still
happening. And when we asked why they left, they said that in
their habitual clock nothing goes past 3 months. No job has
ever gone past 3 months in about 50 years. And when you go to
Sierra Leone you will look at all these concrete buildings and
all this rebar. I look at them like unbelievable tombstones of
either pretense ego or just infidelity, however.
And there is a lot of ghost schools. People didn't put
together NGOs, they just build schools and there are no
students and no teachers. So I look at those things every time
I go back to Sierra Leone and then I am left with those
children looking at me going, okay, you have come back yet
again, but very little is changing.
I don't know. I don't know what more I can do or what more
we can do. But I do know that if we continue to ignore Africa
as the second largest continent in the world and now the rising
of Boko Haram, we ignore Africa at our peril in this next
coming 10, 15 years.
Mr. Smith. Ranking Member Bass?
Ms. Bass. Thank you, and I just have three short questions
because I know we are going to come on the clock again and have
another vote. But as I listen to you, Mr. Washington, it is
amazing, because there is so much, I think, attention has been
given to a lot of your work on the philanthropic side, the
foundation and all, but yet you talk of the Hira International
Investment Group. And as the two of us were commenting, we
haven't heard that on CNBC.
And I just wonder about that in terms of the publicity that
you have gotten. What has been the response? Have you tried to
talk about that? CNN, I haven't seen that there.
Mr. Washington. I think I have learned my lessons. I don't
know, should I just say no comment? I have my theories on that.
I think the proof is in the pudding. I have been working at
this for 6 years in a very positive manner. I have made history
April 26, 2010, along with W.E.B. DuBois. I can say that it has
been put on media blackout but I think that would be a horrible
Ms. Bass. You said you made history?
Mr. Washington. April 26, 2010, becoming the first African-
Ms. Bass. Oh, right.
Mr. Washington [continuing]. Human being to receive a dual
citizenship solely based on DNA. Now my ego doesn't lay in the
ground on whether or not I am getting, I do have to admit CNN
did give me a ticker. I think my wife caught it and she was
happy to hit the record button, and when I did get back in-
country I saw the little ticker on CNN. Isaiah Washington
receives his citizenship in Sierra Leone.
I think that is the fundamental problem. Although I love
Fareed Zakaria and I love watching GPS, I just can't support it
anymore because every time I pick up the television, and I love
my favorite shows from Charlie Rose. If I read, all I am
hearing about is the Middle East. And for the life of me I
can't understand how Egypt fell into the Middle East.
So when that is going on I just go inside. And I decided
that the best thing for me to do is just keep working, keep
pushing and keep moving forward, and eventually I will meet
individuals like Greg Simpkins and Congressman Chris Smith and
Congresswoman Karen Bass, and obviously the long-time support
of Barbara Lee, Mel Watt and Congressman Rush. I don't have
time to think about whether or not I am getting more screen
time as Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt or Matt Damon or George
Clooney. I know the answer to that.
But I think that in time we can change the face of that and
know that this is not a missionary project. This is not a back
to Africa movement. This is an economic opportunity that all of
America is really, really embarrassingly missing out on.
Ms. Bass. Well, I told Mr. Rush and Mr. Smith that I am
just really excited about being a part of the legislation and
want to do everything I can, and especially following in their
leadership and guidance. And so the conversation that we were
having before is what do we do next. What is the strategy to
move this forward? And to me it seems that part of it really is
promoting, and maybe it is talking about GPS and holding them a
little bit accountable in talking about looking at the economy
and the economic benefits of investment in Africa.
And so to me I think about the Hira International
Investment Group, and with that I think it is part of putting
the information out there so people are aware of the potential
in the investment, and I think it down the line will help us
get the bill passed. So I will look forward to continuing to
work with you on that.
Mr. Washington. In the old way of saying that we--I think I
said it to one of my colleagues out here from the Moroccan
Embassy, which I will be traveling to hopefully very, very soon
hopefully to sit with BCP Bank and King Mohammed VI. I have
been invited once. I chose not to go for some other reasons,
the little Western Sahara issue there.
But I think it is high time to really start negotiating
this idea. I have been hearing a lot, this thing called sub-
Saharan Africa. I really don't understand what that is. Now
that I am a citizen of Africa, I don't know where that came
from. I don't look at any country that is in the south that may
be harboring those that may have more metal than the others. I
look at North Africa. I look at South Africa. I look at Central
Africa. I look at it as Africa or Ethiopia, the land of Kemet.
And I think once we really start restoring the historic aspect
of what that great continent has contributed to all of humanity
that would be one heck of a start.
Ms. Bass. I agree, and I think with our own population the
first thing we have to do is get people to understand that
Africa is not a country, and all the benefits are there.
Mr. Maynor, when we were talking before about how we expand
the work, the knowledge that you have from being involved in
Africa for 30 years, and how we maybe even bring together
businesses that are interested in investing in Africa and have
presentations from you, from Mr. Washington, talking about your
personal experiences, I think, would be very beneficial.
You mentioned a little bit about Ex-Im, but I wanted to
know how if you have utilized Ex-Im, has the U.S. Government
been supportive in other ways whether it is the trade off as
was mentioned or----
Mr. Maynor. Yes, our CFO primarily deals with the Ex-Im
Bank negotiations, and he has sent several inquiries for some
of our distributors. My understanding from him is that some of
them didn't pass the vetting process. They may have had some
late payments or they may have been in essence too small to
even bother with. So I don't know all of the rudimentary
details relative to our Ex-Im Bank challenges, I just know that
we have not been able to really consummate any assistance with
regards to selling goods to Africa or helping with receivables.
And so I think it is our charge to reengage Ex-Im Bank to
understand what is going on and hopefully Ex-Im Bank will still
exist. I mean again this is something that I am hearing for the
first time and it sounds like a travesty. Even though I may not
have the best experience, but that is only current. That is not
future. You see, I always believe in things can change, I
believe in so long as we put our best forward we make it known
that what our requirements, our needs are and how they could
assist us, I think dialogue helps to bring about a better
understanding and cohesion with regards to getting loans and
And again, for us it is about receivables. How do we manage
those? How do we extend credit being the size that we are and
in taking those challenges? So again, I would defer to my CFO
for all of the exact details. I just know that I have not been
able to sell more as a byproduct.
Ms. Bass. Well, I also wonder if there is ways that we can
be helpful to you----
Mr. Maynor. Oh, absolutely.
Ms. Bass [continuing]. In terms of facilitating those
relationships. Because as we are moving in this direction with
the legislation to the extent that we can start practicing it
now, I think will only help us in terms of----
Mr. Maynor. It will absolutely help us. And again our
conversation earlier about pulling together groups of people
who have a like mind, have a like interest, have like needs
relative to Africa and African business. We don't have to be
the same enterprise. We can be different kinds of companies.
But experience is experience, and you begin to share that.
I have had very good experiences with again some people who
are from the African continent. They live here. They are part
of the diaspora. They were immeasurably helpful to us about who
we should talk to, why we should talk to them, where we should
go, what we shouldn't do when we get on the ground. Those
things can also be incorporated in some U.S. documents, some
And I have had very good interface with various ambassadors
and commercial attaches in different markets, so I don't want
to paint a picture that we have had no assistance. I think that
your ambassadors and your commercial attaches do a brilliant
job under the challenges that they currently have. And again
all of them need to be empowered. They need to be giving more
assistance, and I look forward to this bill being enacted and
helping some of these things to happen in a very positive, in a
very short-term manner.
Ms. Bass. Well, and I will agree with our chairman here
that we definitely need to speed it up, otherwise just by the
length of time it won't happen.
And finally, Mr. Eisner, one question was turned to you
from the other panel, which I asked specifically what countries
have the Chambers? Obviously, South Africa, but what countries
other than South Africa?
Mr. Eisner. Sure. So we have two tiers of AmChams at this
point, American Chambers of Commerce abroad that the U.S.
Chamber works with to establish throughout the world. I think
at this point we have 119 in 115 countries. As it relates to
Africa, we have South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria,
Cameroon, Zambia, Sierra Leone, which was the most recent one
that we accredited, and Kenya, with prospects out there of
Mozambique, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Senegal, Madagascar, Cote
d'Ivoire, Mauritius, Uganda and Zimbabwe. I think I have that
just about right.
AmChams are organizations that are driven by American
businesses doing business on the ground there. So in some
countries you do have a presence of, I think Nigeria has a
Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, but it is really a
Nigerian businessmen's group that is trying to do business with
the U.S., which is all good and well but it is not exactly the
directives of what AmChams are which are to make beach heads
for American firms and give them some of what the Embassies do,
which is the commercial understanding of the markets. And that
is what AmChams primarily provide to American companies.
Ms. Bass. Well, I also wanted to ask you what role the
Chamber is playing in terms of Ex-Im and the fact that we are,
the clock is ticking. The Chamber is one of the most powerful
organizations here on the Hill, and especially in terms of the
majority. And we are working in a very bipartisan fashion here,
but the majority responds very strongly to--and I have
certainly been lobbied about Ex-Im but it has been my
individual companies and I wasn't in. I am very excited that
the Chamber is supporting this bill, because in the same way
that I believe your presence and support can help make sure
that this bill happens, because of the power of your
organization, what are your lobbying efforts in regard to Ex-
Mr. Eisner. So we have been extremely busy. I don't have
all the nitty-gritty details as my coworkers on the other side
of the aisle that focus on domestic issues have been more
focusing on that, but I know we have probably had somewhere in
the neighborhood of 30 to 50 meetings with members of all parts
of the U.S. Government whether it be administrative or in the
House or in the Senate.
So we are steadfastly in support. We wanted this to get
done last year. We wanted it to get done last month, and now we
are still at the standpoint of why isn't it done. And I think
we still have got some educating to do of some of your friends
and colleagues to make them understand the value.
Ms. Bass. This is exactly what I was referring to.
Mr. Eisner. Yes. Yes, I know. It is the work of you all too
to convince your colleagues that this isn't something that is
hurting American workers. It is actually helping American
workers to drive those exports abroad, because unless you only
want 7 percent of consumers out there which are in the
Ms. Bass. Well, I mean I think that there is a lot of
misconceptions about international work, period.
Mr. Eisner. Yes.
Ms. Bass. And viewing it as in a time of an economic
problems that we are having and a large deficit, we need to cut
wherever, and the education around how this benefits our
economy, I think, is really important, and your organization
can certainly take the lead in that.
Mr. Eisner. Well, I appreciate that. We have been very
active out there and we hope to have some sort of concluding
legislation here in the couple weeks. If we don't, then I think
we are all up the river without a paddle.
Ms. Bass. Have there been meetings with the majority
Mr. Eisner. I believe there have, but I don't have the
exact details on that. I can provide them to you afterwards.
Ms. Bass. All right, thank you.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Rush?
Mr. Rush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This has really been a
very insightful hearing and I am just pleased to hear some of
the commentary from both of this outstanding panel.
I must say, Mr. Washington, to you, you inspired me in some
ways to have my DNA traced. And I am from the Ashanti in Ghana,
and also from the Bukit, from the Cameroonian and Equatorial
Guinea on my father's side. My mother's side is from the
Ashanti in Ghana.
So I intend to hopefully travel the same path that you led
and even to the point of dual citizenship if at all possible. I
think that again and I am headed down that particular road.
My interest in the trade aspect of Africa has a self-
interest perspective. The district that I represent has an
unemployment rate for young people that holds around 60-65
percent. And as a result then you have all kinds of issues that
are a result of unemployment, dropouts and that type thing, and
mostly in a large portion of my district.
And so I view the expansion of the American marketplace to
Africa as being not only an opportunity to help grow a middle
class in Africa, but also to help expand and then strengthen a
declining middle class here in the U.S. And so I think that it
is the key, it is the answer to both of those two problems on
And I was in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a week ago at a conference
there on energy. And Brazil is one country that is, they don't
rely on foreign oil at all. There is no foreign import of oil,
petroleum of any note. It is free from foreign oil. And the
reason why is that they use ethanol that is derived from sugar
cane. And in your comments you were talking about how arable
the land is in so many African countries, all right, where you
can grow. So the point is that was driven home to me was that
energy and agriculture, there is a nexus between energy and
agriculture where, and if we are going to meet the demands of
the next 25 years in terms of these emerging countries and the
expansion of the middle class and the things that the middle
class want, need and will purchase, then we have got to also
deal with the energy components of that and the energy demands
So you can elaborate and you can put it in perspective.
Mr. Washington. You are exactly right. I am trying to
contain myself here. I have been overwhelmed a couple of times
here in some thinking, think-tanking here. I have about a clear
vision on just elephant grass alone which is growing pretty
much 90 percent all over West Africa. That's the new oil, as
well as water being the new oil. I have a vision for that.
That's a cost of $3 million to get that started immediately
where a biomass, biofuel opportunities right there in Sierra
Leone to start development as soon as possible. Holland has bid
on it. There is interest from Denmark.
But again, I repeat that my President has put out a mandate
that he is trying to hold out to keep from being neo-colonized
by the Europeans and/or, I am not so sure the Chinese are going
to colonize Africa, but they certainly, I don't think they
really care enough about colonizing anything. I think we can
take a lesson from Chinese as opposed to really beating them
down about the human rights issues, but take a lesson that they
are focused. They are very focused on what they want and what
Now can we fault them for going and getting what they need
and not talking about it? No. They go and get what they need
for their people. And I go back to our strategy, our marketing
tool, our branding tool. Are we doing the same or are we just
sitting back posturing and boasting about all kinds of things
and acts and bills that are falling at the wayside and being
left behind. As you say we are standing flat-footed. What I
have said repeatedly on Capitol Hill in the last 6 years, I
have over 6,000 acres of land to grow whatever you need.
I know I have just returned from Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro,
also Recife and the state of Ceara in Fortaleza. And I know my
phone is blowing up for me to get back to Brazil so I can walk
them into Sierra Leone. Now am I going to keep them at bay
forever? I have gotten calls from Russia, India, and China.
This Dr. Burke thing speaks in all languages, 65 different
languages around the world. So it is almost like an American
Express card for me because the power of this television.
But I am American. There is American at the end of African,
if I choose to call myself African-American. And it is very
difficult. I too feel like I am under pressure, in the position
as my President in Sierra Leone is, how long can I hold out on
cash that is being put on the table by these other entities
that are saying, whatever you need, whether they are going to
build that road right or not, whether or not going to take care
of the children that are being born out of wedlock. There are a
lot of Asian and Sierra Leonean African children are running
around that need parents and they don't have them.
So we have other social issues that are developing on the
ground as long as we continue to ignore, or for some reason we
are thinking that this is the European's backyard like we have
the sense that Latin America is our backyard. I don't really
understand how that sentiment is still being felt, but I can
see it by action or lack of. So agriculture, agriculture,
agriculture is the name of the game. I think right away we can
employ millions of people here in America alone with their
expertise and innovation as soon as this bill, hopefully 180
days after this bill is signed. I can't wait. I am waiting with
bated breath and I hope for the best. But again we are just
talking about great ideas that I have gone over for years in
being in Sierra Leone that I know we could implement tomorrow.
Mr. Rush. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Smith. Okay, we are joined by Congresswoman Jackson Lee
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your
courtesies, and to Ranking Member Bass and to the author of
this vital, the authors of this very vital legislation. I want
to just take a moment to applaud you.
I went in the inaugural trip on AGOA legislation, African
Growth and Opportunity, which talks about legislation, bringing
goods out. I traveled to seven nations. One of our persons
obviously quoted the former Ranking Member Donald Payne and
Charlie Rangel. And we had all hopes, I think Mr. McDermott on
the Ways and Means was part of this, and we see the
positiveness of it.
But as I listen to both of you dealing with this
legislation, one of the things that you are highlighting is the
dumping that comes where African exports are even having
difficulty under AGOA. H.R. 4221 talks about an overdue
partnership and respect and recognition. That Africa is an
adult, is worthy of the respect from the United States as an
equal partner in trade, in defense, in issues of health care
and respect of culture. So I certainly wholeheartedly support
And I heard Ranking Member Bass ask the question about
leadership, and I really think she was asking it, and I don't
want to interpret her words, but for a good bill such as this
with a simple premise, why this cannot move through committee
and move to the floor of the House. Because everybody is
talking about jobs, and when you talk about exports you are
talking about jobs.
So let me try to get to questions and thank all the
witness. Let me acknowledge my very, very dear friend, Mr.
Washington, a constituent, a Houstonian. I don't know if he
knows how many love him in our city and community, very proud
of him, and these are not unnecessary words. For us he is our
Oscar-winning, talented provocateur of the arts, of acting.
Mr. Washington. Not Oscar yet.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Excuse me, my claim. You can't in any way
disagree with a Member of Congress. He is our Oscar-winning, I
have promoted you, I understand. Take the hint. For us it is an
Oscar because of his talent and because of his generosity. And
so we have inducted him ourselves because of the broad view
that he has on the world.
I want to thank Mr. Eisner for your presence, and Mr.
Maynor, and everybody knows Luster Products. And we certainly
want to make those products available.
But let me just pose to you, Mr. Eisner, and I am going to
go across, and again I will try to be swift. I was with the
President in South and Central America for the Organization of
American States, and beside what ever other news came out of
Colombia, South America on other unnecessary activities, the
interest was to focus on the partnership and economic link to
South and Central America. And though this is a sidebar
comment, there are two states that have Afro-Colombians.
And what I saw in South and Central America, been there a
number of times and have been to a number of regions that have
African-Brazilians, African et cetera, but there was still that
strong link between the Afro-Colombians and Africa. Not that
they just came back or they have some, but just the lineage
connection. And I think in this country we have to do a better
job. There is no insult--Chinese-Americans are strongly
supporting China, will defend to the end. Korean-Americans,
there is a trade bill with Korea. Certainly my friends of the
Hispanic and Latino community recognize the importance of South
and Central America. And Canadians or Canadian-Americans or
whoever recognize the importance of North America, Canada.
What we have to do is recognize that importance. And I just
want to ask this pointed question to Mr. Eisner, because I
didn't hear, Mr. Chairman, did you secure an endorsement of
4221? I just did not hear. And the reason why, I was with Mr.
Donohue right across the table in this meeting. We were glad
that he here--excuse me, I am sorry. We were glad that he was
in Colombia, and I was in Colombia right across from him.
This is a bipartisan bill, so this is not a criticism but
it is a note to you. The Chamber has not done good work on
Africa. And so my question is, are you suggesting that you will
look closely at H.R. 4221 and really work on what I started out
by saying that Africa is an adult and should be treated as such
and we should be increasingly looking to send mature
delegations over joined with Members of Congress. Again it is
not a criticism, so let me just stop. Is this a bill that you
have looked at, sir, and can work with the Chamber?
Mr. Eisner. Yes, we said at the outset we are supportive of
Ms. Jackson Lee. Okay, thank you.
Mr. Eisner. At any point of having a bipartisan support
especially across the way with the Senate that focuses
attention on Africa, I would think we would be remiss if we
didn't support it. There are elements, I think, as we analyze
it further and further we will probably want to work with you
on and massage a little bit like any piece of legislation,
figure out where the right and the wrong are, but to put some
centralized focus in this government on Africa is long overdue.
I take a little umbrage to say that the Chamber hasn't done
good work in Africa, because I think we have done a lot of work
trying to help our members understand the prospects that exist
in Africa across the continent. It is not just one place, it is
many countries. And we have spent a lot of time in the last
couple years, I will admit that prior to kind of myself and my
colleague, Danielle Walker's arrival on the scene from Africa
at the Chamber, we overlooked it. But that is a time that has
gone behind us we are looking to the future, and we think that
there is an opportunity here for our membership to really
engage Africa in a much more substantial fashion.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Well, I am delighted that Ms. Walker is
here. We obviously know her reputation. But I see a lot of
friends in the room here. But let me just make the point, I
would hope that you would reach out and talk. You have got the
chairman of the committee that is a powerful support of Africa,
a number of members here. That you would reach out to members
who are stakeholders in that area.
And I would offer to say without insulting the chairman and
the subcommittee and the ranking member, members of the various
caucuses, I would just say the Congressional Black Caucus, and
I am not sure if that kind of give and take has occurred. This
bill will be a great groundwork for that. Mr. Rush has traveled
all over America talking about Africa, and I have been there
over a number of years having started going to Africa in my
early college years and have not stopped on that. So I would
encourage that. So thank you for that and I hope you will
expand your reach to members on that issue.
Can I just say to Mr. Maynor, you have made a very valid
point. One thing I want to make sure, you may have discussed
it. I think I heard you talking about the Export-Import Bank
should be helping you? We are strong supporters. Maybe you are
going to say that it is, and we want to congratulate you if it
Mr. Maynor. Well, my comments earlier were that we have had
some challenges. Primarily my CFO does the day to day or the
intricate interface with Ex-Im Bank. And what I was saying is
that as a leader or as the director of the department I have
not seen any sales as a byproduct of having Ex-Im Bank support.
But there are challenges and in challenges with our customers.
From what my CFO has said that they have done the scrutiny, but
some of the accounts that we wanted to do business with did not
hold up to that scrutiny.
But my point to that is what are the rules of engagement?
What are the fine lines? What can be done in a risk-reward kind
of mindset? Because if we don't take a chance there will be no
Ms. Jackson Lee. Absolutely. There are 800 million-plus and
growing. There may be 1 billion soon, and there are 53 nation-
states. And let me just make the point that we need to do a
better job of making sure that our institutions like World Bank
that does another business, but Ex-Im understands that they
work for you, and with the Chamber's good work in terms of
exploring where the good opportunities are. When I have talked
to business persons they have said, we want to know how to get
our money out of Africa----
Mr. Maynor. Exactly.
Ms. Jackson Lee [continuing]. Once we do business. One of
my great pastors, Pastor Lockett of the CME church, went into
agricultural business in Ghana and I think they were doing
quite well in terms of they bought a lot of land, et cetera,
whether he has passed and whether it is continuing. We need to
build institutions, institutional relationships.
And I think something that Brother Washington said, I am
going to ask him, to show that we have staying power is vital.
So can I just end by saying that I think our message should be
that this vehicle of H.R. 4221 should be establishing that
partnership of exports, but we need to be, and we have enough
tools from the U.S. Department of Commerce from trade missions
that they used to take, to match up, and the Chamber, the right
business partner for you to survive.
Let me move to Mr. Washington as I conclude. I have already
said how proud we are. But you made a point about staying
power, and that was an enormously emotional point. I have been
to Sierra Leone but we know that there are other challenges.
Even with a growing middle class there are challenges on the
And I don't want to sound patronizing, but some of it is
their charm. Some of the cultural connectedness, historical
culture is part of the continent's charm. I don't know if they
will lose all of that. I don't think they need to lose it to
have a prosperous, thriving export-import and producing
products. I don't think they need to do it. But what you were
saying is, and I think that is the point that we, that this
bill, but overall need to convey. And if you would share that
with me. They need to know that Americans are there to stay for
a good purpose.
And I have no criticism that I want to publicly say, but we
know that China is there in a large way. I happen to be a
chauvinist on America. I think we have a better product, better
construction, better rules, better laws that we can be a more
constructive partner with Africa, but they always ask the
question of staying power. I come from Texas so you know there
is oil and gas. I don't want to throw oil and gas under the
bus. I want to see minority companies from the United States,
KMAC, for example, down in Houston, Texas, having the
opportunity to be like my multinational friends that have been
there for 50 years. I need a two-way street that our heads of
government in Africa will be open but we need to prove staying
Mr. Washington, if you would just comment on that part.
Mr. Washington. Again, this is probably the best time I
have ever had on the Capitol Hill in my entire African-American
life. I would love to meet this gentleman named case law in our
good home state of Texas. I have been getting all kinds of
roadblocks. I know he wants to get into Sierra Leone. I will be
happy to bring him.
The one thing that I have been able to utilize, I became an
actor because I wanted to eradicate stereotypes for African-
American men. I had no interest of becoming the next Denzel
Washington whatsoever. I became an actor so I could sit here
one day and look before you guys and there it is. I am excited
about your excitement. I am excited about the idea, but I also
know that without a belittling of the highest office in the
land, without trying to downsize the leader of the free world,
it cannot go unnoticed that you have millions and millions of
people of color, particularly those of the African diaspora,
the African descent that what it would mean if this President,
who happens to be African-American, would sign a bill like H.R.
4221. I know for a fact there will be jubilee in every corridor
and every dirt road and every shanty all over that continent
and beyond and even in Brazil where I just left. I can't wait
to get to Salvador Bahia.
So what my purpose in life is, is to--I have had a very
privileged life. Growing up in Houston and never, ever being in
a position where my skin color or my, anything to put it in a
position, believe it or not, growing up in Missouri City,
Texas, being the first graduating class of Willowridge High
School. It was always diverse before we even had the word
diversity. So I didn't hit ignorance until I joined the
military. I didn't get ignorance until I started meeting other
people from smaller towns and smaller states. So I have always
thought big as most Texans do.
But Sierra Leone is not as big as the state of Texas, and
the reason why I stay true to it is because I know we can
change this country around. It is only 71,000 kilometers from
east to west. You can travel it in 6 hours. And the history
that I have discovered in my lineage is that there is not one
African-American walking on North American soil that did not
get processed through Bunce Island, which is off the coast of
Sierra Leone. It is not coming from Goree Island or Elmina
Castle, most of the slave labor that left those slave castles
went to the Caribbean and went to South America. So all I am
simply trying to say is that we have some of the richest
Africans in the world right here in North America, right here
in the United States, and I just want to try to wake them up.
And hopefully if we can get our President to help wake them up
by signing this bill as soon as possible, I think we can get a
lot of other congressional careers extended by providing a lot
of jobs as soon as possible.
Ms. Jackson Lee. I don't want to overstep the chairman. He
and Mr. Rush may be rushing toward the floor, but I am just
going to put on the record that this would be a non-painful
bill to put on the floor. I don't know how I could capture it
as a trade bill, but I would say it is a jobs-creating bill,
And so I would hope that we could, I guess we have not
marked it up, I don't want to misspeak again, but that this
bill could be marked up by Foreign Affairs. I don't know if
overriding jurisdiction is also in Ways and Means. So we have
the complexity of the congressional process of committee work,
and also on the Senate side. I don't want to speak for the
Commander in Chief, but I can feel very comfortable that that
office would be excited and would be very willing to support
any bill that we passed out on this very topic.
But if you would just close by just going to the importance
of America staying, like if we make a commitment we have to
show that we are willing to stay in Africa and that we are
willing to commit to Africa.
Mr. Washington. That is the strategy that I have been
using. And I say this to Congress and said earlier is that long
ago we were at the forefront of not just doing humanitarism but
going into countries and having that staying power. And not
just going in bringing tanks and wars and guns to secure
whatever it is we thought we needed. I think we can have more
than enough not only for ourselves but the world at large by
engaging Africa and becoming a staying power.
Now that doesn't mean building a military base in various
countries in Africa. I have already had that conversation with
people interested in Africa. I don't know if that is the right
strategy. But to have individual business persons providing
jobs on both continents where everyone can create their own
On the world that I have been benefiting from in Hollywood
is that everyone watches YouTube, and they are going to be
watching me right now and they are going to be waiting, and I
just hope that the wait coming from the American people and our
Government in the United States of America, which--even Liberia
shares the same constitution as we do, guys. Sierra Leone had
the first Freetown, before Liberia. So there would be no HBCUs
if it were not for that man, Joseph Cinque, who tried to turn
the Amistad around, who happens to be my ancestor.
So I am going to continue fighting under the radar if need
be, but hopefully after this we can get out of the dark and
stop calling the continent the Dark Continent, and shed the
right proper light on it and get some things done that will
benefit those who built this nation that happened to have been
put in the position where we were sold to this nation.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your kindness.
Thank you, Mr. Washington, and for all the witnesses. And I
just commit to work with this subcommittee and the leadership
of Chairman Smith, on the author of this bill, coauthor of this
bill, Mr. Rush, the ranking member Ms. Bass.
I think this is an excellent idea. I think this is the
absolute perfect connection or next step to AGOA. And I think
that in spite of an election year, I don't see why this bill
couldn't be passed and signed by the President of the United
States in this election year. How noncontroversial, how job-
creating is this or not?
I yield back to the gentleman. Count me as one of the
advocates for this legislation.
Mr. Smith. And we thank the gentlelady for her very kind
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, I would be remiss, I ask for just
Mr. Smith. Mr. Rush.
Mr. Rush. I just ask for one additional moment. I would be
remiss if I didn't ask Mr. Washington this question. Because he
kept referring to Hollywood, and I know he is an actor and
renowned actor, and he has had a lot of--from the city that
produces greater people in general, from Houston Texas. I
wanted to just ask him this question.
I have been in contact recently with a fellow by the name
of Mr. Jeta Amata. And he brought to my attention that the
fastest growing industry in the entertainment industry is in
Africa. And that the Nigerian film industry makes more films
than the American and is surpassed only by, they call it
Nollywood, is only surpassed by Bollywood.
And Nollywood has grown at about 18 percent a year and was
worth almost $300 million in 2010. And according to research by
the management and consulting company of McKinsey & Company, it
produced about 2,000 new films in 2010, and that number is
growing at 15 percent a year. So not only does Africa have a
lot of potential in terms of agriculture and energy, but also
in terms of the entertainment industry.
And can you want to say anything about that meeting?
Mr. Washington. You are very clever, sir, but thank you
very much, Congressman Bobby Rush. Yes, as soon as I get on
that last train smoking I am going to New York to make a little
bit more of history working with Black Ivory Films Limited and
Tony Abulu, who has been an extraordinary producer for Nigeria
for the last 30 years. I will go down in history as probably
the first African-American lead joining forces with Vivica Fox
and Haitian extraordinaire, Jimmy Jean-Louis.
Start filming April 23rd, completely supported by Ex-Im
Bank and all the various governors of Ogun State, Abeokuta and
others. I am hearing from my text that we are doing a press
conference on the 20th of April to talk about just this, is how
5,000 films a year come out of Nollywood and they are not
getting any attention. So I think President Goodluck Jonathan
is very excited that I have allowed my brand to help co-brand
their beautiful sky mountains to show what is good that is
going on in Nigeria as opposed to the countless loop of what is
going on in Jos.
Like the gentleman said before, the Ambassador, there is
other beautiful things happening thousands and thousands of
miles away. It is just like Congressman Bass know or
Congressman Lee knows that what is going in Studewood is not
what is going on in Dallas, or what is going on is not what is
going on in Tyler. What is going on in Compton is not what is
going on in Beverly Hills. They are totally separate.
But if you are only seeing that one thing, Kony 2012 or the
red one, the negative, the conflict, then obviously television
is one of the most powerful mediums in the world. And that is
why I am using my brand to have 25 countries watching a film
from the press conference to the red carpet. So everyone in all
of Africa can see the beauty of what is going on in Nigeria and
how we are making this historical film, Dr. Bello.
Mr. Rush. Yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Smith. Anybody else?
Ms. Bass. Let me just say in closing, this has been a very
inspiring hearing, it really has, and I am very excited about
this. But the hearing is step one, and afterwards it is about a
strategy. It is about making this happening. And we were
certainly talking amongst ourselves about what those next steps
could and should be. And so I just hope that the three of you
won't object to us calling on you again, because we would
definitely like to include you as partners as we move this
along until the bill signing.
Mr. Washington. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. I too want to thank our very distinguished
witnesses for your patience. This is kind of late and you have
been very, very generous with your time, but more importantly
with your talent, and by giving us insights and additional
arguments to make as we move this legislation forward and gain
a greater understanding of the promise that is Africa.
The Nigerian films issue is one that gets scant focus. I
didn't know, Mr. Washington, you will actually be starring in
one. Maybe you could tell us what the plot is. I will ask you
But thank you so much. It really is very, very helpful and
you have been extraordinary. With that the hearing is
[Whereupon, at 5:42 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing RecordNotice deg.