Dr. Boozman's Check-up

As President Obama heads to Africa to talk trade, I’d like to remind him that we’ve got a bill that will help to promote American business and trade on the continent while creating American jobs.

The Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2013 that I introduced with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday and sent to the full Senate for consideration. The bill aims to improve America’s competiveness throughout the continent by forcing better coordination between U.S. government agencies and departments, establishing comprehensive strategic goals, and marshaling private investments to improve U.S. exports to Africa.

Africa’s expanding middle class provides a large and growing market for American products and the continent’s increasing urbanization calls for investments in rapidly expanding infrastructure projects. Sub-Saharan Africa alone is projected to be home to seven of the ten fastest growing economies over the next five years. But other nations have beaten us to the punch, aggressively investing in the continent to ensure their businesses have first access to markets.

When we talk about job creation, free and fair trade is a vital component to a successful plan. An effective trade strategy with African nations will help us significantly add jobs here at home. The eagerness and willingness to be good trade partners on the part of African nations is there. The desire for American products, along with our ideals, is strong. The only thing missing is a cohesive strategy on our end. That is what we are aiming to create with this legislation.