Travel Diary: U.S.-Zambia Chamber of Commerce Launches in Lusaka

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 12, 2011
Secretary Clinton Looks Over Products Made by Members of AWEP in Lusaka

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton helped celebrate the launch of the U.S.-Zambia Chamber of Commerce in Lusaka on June 11, 2011. During the event, Secretary Clinton said:

"...I am especially pleased to be here...with ministers of the governments and so many distinguished business leaders here in Zambia to celebrate the launch of the new Zambian-American Chamber of Commerce. I want to thank Ambassador Ron Kirk. No one works harder to promote business and opportunities around the world.

"And it is for me an exciting moment because we see so much potential. And by building our relationship, we want a relationship of partnership not patronage, of sustainability not quick fixes. We want to establish a strong foundation to attract new investment, open new businesses...create more paychecks, and do so within the context of a positive ethic of corporate responsibility. We think it's essential that we have an idea going in that doing well is not in any way a contradiction of doing good, that we can do both. We can do well by the people of both our countries. We can do well by creating businesses that will be profitable and therefore create more jobs. And we can do good by establishing an even stronger base for prosperity."

Secretary Clinton continued, "...The real work is done by all of you. You're the ones who are on the ground making the difference.

"And I want to just highlight a few of the stories that I was told. Chris and Agatha Beckett, where are they? Chris and Agatha Beckett. Chris is American. Agatha is Zambian. Together they started an organic fertilizer business that now already employs 80 people here. And since agriculture is one of our targets for working with you through our Feed the Future Program, we think that any investment in value-added products and inputs into agriculture is going to be extremely important.

"Where is Rashmi Sharma? There she is. She and her brother used...the AGOA trade preferences to expand their local jewelry business all the way to the United States. Now, that's good for Zambia, but it's also good for American consumers who want high-quality, beautiful jewelry, some examples of which I saw yesterday at the exhibition at the convention center.

"I also outlined a series of steps that African governments can and I hope should take and will take to unleash the potential of their own people. And I think as we look to the future, there is such an amazing set of opportunities, but business can't do it without a supportive government policy framework, and governments can't do it without entrepreneurs and business people who are really going to take advantage of all of these opportunities."

Secretary Clinton then said, "...The United States will do what we can to help American and Zambian companies do business together. We want to help work toward lowering trade barriers, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, because, unfortunately, the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa trade at a lower level than any region in the world. And there are so many opportunities for growth just within the region: lower trade barriers; invest in infrastructure, health, health and education, cut down on corruption, which I addressed yesterday both publicly and privately and I will continue to address across the world, not just here and not just in Africa. Because we know very well that corruption is a hidden tax on businesses, and you can't expect to be able to do business if at every stage along the way of setting up and producing and then distributing and marketing, you have to pay somebody who is not a productive member of your team. So we're going to do everything we can to try to help on that."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.

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