President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa says the US investment in Africa could assist many countries to industrialise their economies and make good use of their critical mineral resources.
The South African leader said this at the opening ceremony of a major US-Africa trade summit in Johannesburg, adding that: “Africa is an important source of critical raw materials, but we do not want to be defined as simply the producers of commodities.”
He went on to say that African countries would benefit enormously from retaining these materials in-house and developing them into items that could be sold internationally, rather than exporting them to countries with superior manufacturing strength.
The Johannesburg summit is examining the future of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a trade initiative passed in the year 2000 to strengthen trade connections between the United States and Africa.
Agoa gives duty-free access to the US market and is due to expire in September 2025.
African countries are working towards an early 10-year extension, without changes, to reassure businesses and investors.
The continent of Africa is blessed with many critical mineral resources.
According to the UN, it holds 40% of the world’s gold deposits, as well as the largest amount of cobalt, uranium, platinum, and diamonds.
Despite these tremendous natural wealth, several countries face high levels of poverty and inequality that have been made worse by corruption and bad governance.