Witney Schneidman

Witney Schneidman

Senior International Advisor for Africa

Witney Schneidman is a senior international advisor for Africa.  Dr. Schneidman, a non-lawyer, has a deep understanding of many of the major African countries, as well as uniquely valuable insight into the recurrent challenges and opportunities across the continent.  He provides strategic advice on the varied political, economic, social and regulatory issues that are critical to companies’ success in Africa.  Dr. Schneidman’s work focuses on US-African relations, trade and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and issues related to economic growth and regional integration on the continent.

Previously, Dr. Schneidman was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.  He played a key role in ensuring the passage and implementation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, and the establishment of the U.S.-SADC Forum, the U.S.-Angola Bilateral Consultative Commission and the U.S. Nigeria Joint Economic Partnership Committee.

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AGOA moves forward: Reviewing last week’s reauthorization in the U.S. Senate

On Thursday of last week and with a vote of 97-1, the U.S. Senate approved the “Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015,” which includes reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). With this action, the Senate seeks to reaffirm the “centerpiece of trade relations between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa,” as well … Continue Reading

Competing smarter: Assessing the report from the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa

One positive outcome of last year’s U.S.-African Leaders Summit was the creation of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (DBIA), whose purpose is to make recommendations on how to strengthen U.S. commercial engagement on the continent. The council, a group of 15 seasoned business leaders with a genuine understanding of Africa’s business … Continue Reading

Which Way Nigeria?

The historic electoral victory by Muhammadu Buhari, the first time an opposition candidate has defeated an incumbent president in Nigeria, opens a new and unprecedented chapter in the history of Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest economy. As president-elect, Buhari faces significant challenges. Stemming the insurgency in the north waged by Boko Haram, … Continue Reading

Are Chinese Companies Retooling in Africa?

Chinese companies are adopting new approaches to investing in Africa. These changes, if they become widespread, will boost the positive impact of China on Africa’s development agenda and improve how Chinese companies are perceived on the continent. Conversations in China last month suggest a growing perception that the country’s model of extending low-interest commercial loans … Continue Reading

Africa’s Image and the Ebola Epidemic

During the African Leaders Summit in August, Brookings convened the panel discussion, “Africa’s Image and U.S. Perceptions in the 21st Century,” that included leading journalists and Africanists such as Helene Cooper of The New York Times, William Wallis of the Financial Times, Amadou Mahtar Ba of AllAfrica Global Media, John Prendergast of the Enough Campaign … Continue Reading

The Missing Link in President Obama’s Africa Leaders Summit: Addressing the African, EU, U.S. Conundrum

The African Leaders Summit, held in Washington in early August, marked a welcome and important turning point as trade and investment became a top priority in U.S.-African relations. At the same time, this development has placed the U.S. and the EU on a collision course as it concerns trade with Africa. From patronage to partnership … Continue Reading

Ebola Response Missing A Key Player

The Obama Administration has mobilized a number of government agencies to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa and to prevent its spread into the U.S. At the frontline of the Administration’s response is the Pentagon, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. Agency for International development … Continue Reading

Strengthening U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment

The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is currently considering the renewal and strengthening of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  AGOA is the cornerstone of the U.S.-African commercial relationship, and the African Union (AU) has called for a 15 year extension of the Act, from 2015 to 2030.  Since its enactment in … Continue Reading

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: A Historic Opportunity

On August 4-6, President Obama will welcome over forty-five African heads of state and government to Washington D.C. for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.  The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit reflects the administration’s desire to forge a deeper relationship with African governments especially as it concerns  trade and investment,  Africa’s security and  democratic development.  The first two … Continue Reading

Foreign Investment in Africa is Booming

This week U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is leading an energy business development mission to West Africa with stops in Ghana and Nigeria.  The mission will help US companies launch or increase their business in West Africa.  Both countries are facing considerable growth and need the foreign investment as they expand their energy resources. This … Continue Reading

Africa’s Coming Infrastructure Boom

The World Economic Forum (WEF) African regional meetings in Nigeria this week emphasized that a major push on infrastructure is underway in Africa.  In order for Africa’s recent economic turnaround to continue, large scale investment activities including energy, transportation, housing, and telecommunications are essential. The amounts required are staggering.  According to McKinsey CEO Barton investment … Continue Reading
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