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Jack Lew goes to Africa

Stan Alcorn Oct 27, 2014
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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is in Cairo Monday, Tanzania Tuesday, and South Africa Thursday and Friday. He’ll be meeting with finance ministers and business leaders, “to discuss the state of the global economy and policies to promote regional growth and investment,” according to an official  Treasury Department advisory.

“When the Treasury Secretary goes to Africa, it’s about finance and private investment,” says Todd Moss, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. “I would expect some kind of either energy or agriculture deal to be announced in Tanzania.”

“[Tanzania] has discovered vast reserves of natural gas,” says Witney Schneidman, a Brookings fellow and Africa advisor at Covington and Burling. 

Schneidman says Treasury might want to evaluate the government’s capacity to negotiate the resulting complicated energy contracts. “Sometimes Treasury will actually deploy some of their people to work in the ministry of finance,” he says. 

But the visit isn’t primarily about volunteering resources.

“There will be some specific deals announced, probably at each stop,” says Moss. “Otherwise it’s a huge wasted opportunity.”

But both Schneidman and Moss say the larger goal is to send a message: that Africa—home to six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world—matters to the American economy.

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