Greenberg Traurig participated in the Corporate Council on Africa’s Trade Mission to Ethiopia and Kenya during the week of August 15. While a primary focus of the trip was the agribusiness sector, private investment in manufacturing and infrastructure (including power) were also identified as vital to each economy. Vicky McPherson, a shareholder based in Washington, D.C. and a key member of the Firm’s Africa Practice, participated alongside other private sector companies in the trade mission. Participating at the ground level in this mission and missions like it allows Greenberg Traurig to identify opportunities and make important connections in the area. This can be particularly valuable in key markets such as Ethiopia and Kenya.

During the trade mission, Ms. McPherson met with key Ethiopian and Kenyan ministerial officials, U.S. Embassy officials and representatives from the USDA Food and Agriculture Foreign Service, the USAID, and the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. Briefings from the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patricia M. Haslach, and their staffs provided excellent background about the climate for foreign direct investment. While some in the private sector are reluctant to seek out government involvement in their private ventures, the resources available from the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and Ethiopia, (the largest on the African continent), are invaluable to new entrants or those facing roadblocks. To learn more about the support available please visit the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub website.

Those U.S. companies seeking to learn about the investment climate and opportunities in Kenya or Ethiopia should also consider familiarizing themselves with the services of KenInvest or the Ethiopian Investment Commission. The delegation also received an overview of the economic outlook and structure for investment within the East Africa Community. The trade mission was rounded out by B-2-B meetings with local companies seeking connections to investors and access to the U.S. market.

Capitalizing on investment opportunities in Kenya and Ethiopia will take patience and commitment for those new to these countries, but the rewards can be substantial for those who are willing to take on the real and perceived challenges. Greenberg Traurig professionals bring many years of intimate familiarity with optimizing business opportunities in Africa, particularly in Kenya and Ethiopia, and is uniquely situated to help private sector companies navigate this terrain.

For the trade mission participants, the process of turning the connections made into realized business ventures begins now.