Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. The continent is developing a middle class that is hungry for U.S. products. We must take advantage of this market. 

The foundation of opportunities for Arkansas and American businesses begins with building relationships. That is why on Monday, I participated in the “Congressional Forum on Investing in the Next Generation in Africa.” This panel discussion was held in front of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship exchange initiative of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Included in this audience were 25 Africans who spent the last month and a half in Arkansas. 

I enjoyed speaking to some of these young men and women who enjoyed their time in our state. They appreciate the hospitality of our citizens. This needs to serve as a reminder of the opportunities that cultural exchanges represent and the need to engage on trade potential. 

This is why I joined my colleagues Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) to introduce a bill that increases America’s competiveness throughout Africa by forcing better coordination between U.S. government agencies and departments, establishing comprehensive strategic goals and marshaling private investments to improve U.S.-Africa business activities. This bill challenges us to increase exports to Africa by 200 percent and gives us the incentive and a template for how to reach that goal. 

A key provision of our legislation—the establishment of a White House-designated senior coordinator to review current export strategies with the ultimate goal of significantly increasing our imports to Africa—was included in the law that authorized defense spending for this year.  

As I told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette the way you change the world is through personal relationships. This is a great chance to highlight the people and products of our state. 

Read more in this Arkansas Democrat Gazette story. [Subscription required]