The ACTC is designed to attract African and Caribbean businesses that are seeking to trade with firms in Philadelphia and across the United States. For those firms engaged in imports and exports, Philadelphia can become the “gateway” to markets across the country, identifying buyers and sellers that ship their wares through the Port of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia International Airport. The Port currently receives trade from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, making it the largest port in the U.S. receiving cocoa beans from Africa. The Philadelphia Port also receives goods from Angola, Cameroon, Nigeria and South African. With the start, on January 1,2021 of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), this creates the possibility that markets to other African nations will be open to Philadelphia businesses.
The ACTC will offer office and showroom space to African and Caribbean nations and businesses seeking to gain access to the rich consumer markets across the U.S, While U.S. firms and others will seek office and showroom space to market their products, goods, and services to African and Caribbean Nations and businesses. The foundation to two-way trade is proximity to markets, major modes of transportation and willing buyers and sellers. The location of the ACTC provides extraordinary access to domestic and international transportation. The building will also have meeting rooms, a large auditorium, and a state-of-the-art communications center to accommodate international meetings. It is estimated that the construction of the African and Caribbean Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia will be between $25 and $30 million.
The ACTC will also house a staff of professionals to provide a full range of management and technical assistance services to small and minority businesses seeking to export their products, goods, and services to African and Caribbean nations. The ACTC will provide procurement assistance to Philadelphia businesses seeking to obtain contracts from U. S. agencies that purchase goods and services for export to foreign nations. U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International and others procure billions of dollars of goods and services for export to nations abroad. International procurement will become a major opportunity for small businesses to access international markets.
Finally, the AFCFTA is a trade agreement between 54 African nations to promote inner continental trade. This brings together 1.3 billion people, a GDP of $2.5 trillion with several of the fastest growing economies in the world. The AFCFTA will become the largest trading block in the world and the ACTC will be a major partner in this global trading initiative with access through Africatown in Philadelphia. The ACTC will create thousands of jobs, provide tax revenues, and serve as a destination point for tourist, and businesses seeking expanded markets for their products, goods and services through exporting and importing.