The USAID Trade and Investment Hub based in Kenya has been facilitating companies in East Africa to access markets in the US. This month, the Hub has supported nine firms from Ethiopia and Madagascar at the International Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in Chicago, U.S.A.
The expo included food ingredient, equipment, processing, technology and packaging suppliers, bringing together approximately 1,200 exhibitors and 23,000 attendees interested in the science of food.
By the end of the expo, the Hub-supported firms made a total of 61 business linkages with a potential value of $545,330.
The expo provided an opportunity for buyers to learn about – and taste – the East African firms’ products, which focused on a variety of spices and Moringa powder.
The Hub supports East African companies to connect with U.S. buyers as part of its mandate to facilitate a 40 percent increase in exports from the East African region to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The Hub assisted the firms with event logistics and prepared them for buyer interactions, helping them to maximize their attendance and explore export opportunities. These interactions are invaluable for participating East African firms.
By speaking to buyers and observing other participants, the firms gain a better understanding of current market trends and what their competition has to offer. Expo participation can also foster business connections and generate deals.
At the same time, the Hub facilitated the closure of a $15 million deal in Tanzania for a pharmaceutical company that registers, imports and distributes health products.
The company directly sources its products from Medtronics, a U.S.-listed company valued at over $8 billion. The Hub supported the pharmaceutical company’s management team to respond to the investor’s draft term sheet, enabling it to secure the capital required to grow its diagnostic business.
The company will use the funds to expand its medical devices business across both East and West Africa. To date, the Hub has facilitated over $125 million in deals in East Africa.
The Hub works to attract, mobilize and sustain new private-sector investment within the East Africa region. The Hub’s investment component works in four priority sectors — ICT, agribusiness, financial services, and cotton, textile and apparel — within the East African Community (EAC), Ethiopia, and Madagascar.
Investment is a core ingredient for firms of all sizes to innovate, grow and ultimately sell their products locally, regionally and internationally.