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Prosper Africa launches virtual deal room, online toolkit

The US government’s Prosper Africa initiative has launched its new virtual deal room, where both businesses and investors can access actionable information and actively engage on up to 150 active Prosper Africa deals, says Prosper Africa initiative COO Victoria Whitney.

Prosper Africa is an initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa, bringing together and leveraging all of the US government’s trade and investment support services and resources to help US and African businesses and investors identify partners, advance opportunities, and close deals.

According to the initiative, during its first year, it directly supported more than 280 deals to close across more than 30 African countries for a total value of over $22-billion.

Whitney notes that the first set of deals to be launched in the virtual deal room will focus specifically on US investment in Africa and export opportunities from the US to Africa, but there will be more coming soon. It is currently open for registrations, with the first 30 deals to go live in the next two weeks.

In addition, the initiative also recently launched its new digital resource centre, serving as a one-stop shop for investment services and resources across the entire US government. It can be accessed at ProsperAfrica.DFC.gov.

Whitney says Prosper Africa is building on the momentum already achieved in recent years by establishing a flagship, continent-wide Prosper Africa Trade and investment programme through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), starting up a new Prosper Africa investment unit at the new International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

The Prosper Africa team is increasing trade and investment between the US and Africa by making it “easier than ever before” for businesses and investors to access this comprehensive package of US government support services, she says. Whitney adds that that involves matchmaking, financing and advisory services. “It is by connecting those US and African companies with new opportunities that we are generating those jobs, driving growth and working towards our goal of true shared prosperity.”

When Prosper Africa was first announced, she says it promised a new way of doing business, a new way that would have the US government take the burden on itself of bringing resources to business instead of making those businesses arduously hunt for them all across the US government. “Prosper promised to leverage the tools of a brand-new DFC to capitalise on the reauthorisation of Export-Import Bank of the US, expand USAID’s trade and investment programming.”

Currently, she notes, Prosper Africa’s approach is delivering “some really significant impact”, evidenced over the past year by directly supporting more than 280 deals to close across more than 30 African countries, for a total value of over $22-billion. “Many of those deals included support to small and medium-sized African businesses, paying extra-close attention to those small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Whitney states that Prosper Africa is going to provide a range of services, such as business consulting and transition facilitation and targeted policy interventions. As such, she says it is expected to deliver billions more dollars in exports and investment and create hundreds of thousands of jobs by 2026. “I really think this new programme is going to be a game changer.”

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