By Sonia Mfasoni, East Africa Director, The Corporate Council on Africa
Two years ago, in 2013, Kenyan President Kenyatta, Rwandan President Kagame, South Sudanese President Kiir, and Ugandan President Museveni met to discuss the ways in which to collaborate to accelerate development in the region; and the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) was conceived. The goal at the time was to resolve three main issues: the time it took to transport goods from the Port of Mombasa to the other landlocked states; the development of infrastructure along the corridor; and reducing the cost of business in the region. Each country created a special office to coordinate the Initiative, and the presidents committed to meeting every 60 days to assess the progress made and make decisions to speed up the growth of trade and integration.
The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), whose members represent 85 percent of total American private sector investment in Africa, convenes the U.S.-Africa Business Summit every two years. The next CCA Summit, which takes place on the margins of the African Union Head of State meeting in Ethiopia, February 1-4, 2016, will feature a plenary with the heads of state from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda to discuss their progress on the Northern Corridor initiative and to promote opportunities for private sector attendees to take advantage of. The Summit, which has attracted more than 2,000 delegates in the past, has established itself as the premiere meeting that addresses the commercial ties between the U.S. and the nations of Africa.