Africa in the News: Museveni Takes HIV Test, Boko Haram and Anasaru Placed on U.S. Official Terrorist List, and Rising Consumer Demand Attracts American Investment

Musaveni Encourages Ugandans to get tested for HIV/AIDS

In order to raise awareness about HIV testing, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was tested publicly for HIV last Friday. Uganda was once a leader in the reduction of HIV prevalence rates, but in recent years the infection rate has increased.  Uganda has set a policy target of testing 15 million people by the close of 2014 because in general people who know their HIV results are less likely to engage in risky behavior.

The U.S. Declares Boko Haram and Anasaru Terrorist Organizations

The U.S. has declared militant groups Boko Haram and its offshoot organization Anasaru as official terrorist organizations.  These organizations have been responsible for violent attacks in the Northern regions of Nigeria, with Boko Haram estimated to have killed thousands of people since 2009. The United States government expects that the designation will make it easier to enforce measures that reduce the militants’ operating capabilities. On the other hand, critics of the decision worry that this new designation will turn the attention of the typically national-focused militants towards the United States.

Rising Consumer Demand in Africa Region Increases U.S. Business Engagement

This week, the Financial Times reported on the rise in consumer demand in the sub-Saharan Africa region, which has opened up supply routes for international producers to sell commodities to serve the region.  The article gives an example of a company based in California selling concentrated tomatoes to be further processed in Nigeria.  Similarly, the Wall Street Journal reported that the American hotel chain Marriott purchased the South Africa-based Protea hotel chain this week.  Protea, a leader in the African hospitality industry, has a total of 116 hotels in seven African countries across the continent.  This purchase makes Protea/Marriott the largest hotel chain in the region. 

Africa in D.C.

For more information on the changing commercial environment and growing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, there are two upcoming events on the radar for next week.

The Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings and honorary co-hosts Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) are holding an Africa Policy Dialogue on the Hill briefing on Tuesday November 19, 2013 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m in the Rayburn House Office Building. The event, entitled,  “Improving the Commercial Environment in Africa” will feature Stephanie Peters, director of Federal Government Affairs at Microsoft and Bobby Pittman, managing director of Kupanda Capital.  They will discuss what policies and measures can make Africa more attractive to American businesses. Additional details are available here; if interested, please RSVP via email to [email protected].

Additionally, Congresswoman Karen Bass will also welcome Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield into her new role as assistant secretary for African affairs with a reception on Wednesday evening. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will be participating in a discussion regarding her efforts in strengthening the U.S.-Africa relationship. The event will take place the evening of November 20, 2013 at the Library of Congress.