ACTING DIRECTOR ZAK TESTIFIES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2009) – Appearing before the House Subcommittees on Africa and Global Health and Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Acting Director Leocadia I. Zak discussed how USTDA's program is spurring economic development in Africa and the creation of jobs here in the United States.
The hearing, entitled U.S.-Africa Trade Relations: Creating a Platform for Economic Growth, looked at how increased trade can serve as an engine for U.S. recovery and Africa's economic expansion. In support of the Administration's goal of sound governance, economic development, and stability throughout Africa, Ms. Zak discussed specific programs that demonstrate the strength of U.S. industry in Africa and how USTDA-supported projects are creating jobs and spurring economic growth in Africa.
"In carrying out our dual trade and development mission, USTDA is unique among U.S. Government agencies in the way it brings U.S. equipment, technology and expertise to bear in advancing economic development and U.S. commercial interests overseas," Ms. Zak testified. "The impact of the global downturn, if unchecked, can have a severe impact on the many humanitarian and economic accomplishments achieved on the continent. Furthermore, in the U.S., it is clear that as markets have contracted for U.S. goods and services, others must be sought to support existing jobs."
Ms. Zak said that U.S. exports benefit both the country with which USTDA partners and the U.S. economy. This approach has yielded an historical return of over $24 in exports of U.S.-manufactured goods and services to Africa for every program dollar expended. Globally, USTDA's program has directly contributed to over $31 billion in U.S. exports in 1981.
Recognizing the importance of small business to the success of USTDA's program, Ms. Zak stated that "small businesses successfully compete for USTDA-funded projects, such as feasibility studies; training; and technical assistance activities" and "are awarded, on average, 50 percent of international contracts associated with USTDA's program that range from $100,000 to $1 million."
Full text of the testimony as submitted for the record is available at http://www.ustda.gov/. (See Below)
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.
Statement by Leocadia I. Zak, Acting Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (June 24, 2009)