US deputy assistant secretary of state for Southern Africa and economic and regional affairs, Matthew Harrington, with De Fynne Nursery director Elton Jefthas.
Cape Town - America has its sights on increased trade with the continent - introducing a new approach called Prosper Africa, which aims to increase two-way trade and investment between it and Africa.

Matthew Harrington, the US deputy assistant secretary for Southern Africa and economic and regional affairs at the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, says it wants to use South Africa as a base for trade in the rest of Africa.

Harrington is responsible for trade and regional affairs for 10 African countries.

Last week, at the US-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, it encouraged African countries to do business with the US. The summit discussed a Cross Trade Agreement.

According to Harrington, they are committed to signing a bilateral free trade agreement with an African country. “Many have shown interest but the country has not been identified,” he said.

Many US companies in the field of IT, health, tourism and innovation were based in Cape Town, he said. And a number of American companies are involved in the local wine industry.

Harrington said South Africa was a strategic partner, because it had a seat on the UN Security Council.

“We don’t always agree,” he said of the relationship, “but global collaboration is possible”.

Weekend Argus