Sub-Saharan Africa Rail and Port Trade Mission
08/19/2024 (12:00 AM)
08/24/2024 (11:59 PM)
(GMT+02:00) Johannesburg
1 Sandton Drive, Sandhurst 2196


The Mission

The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, Global Automotive and Smart Mobility Team is organizing a Sub-Saharan Africa Rail and Port Trade Mission to Johannesburg South Africa and Luanda and Lobito Angola, August 19-24, 2024.The Sub-Saharan Africa Rail and Port Trade Mission will include participation at the South African Railway Association's SARA Conference from August 20- 23 in Johannesburg South Africa.

The SARA Conference features a convergence of sub-Saharan Government transportation ministers, private-sector railway industry companies, operating concessionaries, primarily in rail, but also from the mining and ports sectors. The International Trade Administration will organize a tailored program for U.S. companies exploring opportunities in African markets and will leverage strong connections with U.S. interagency partners to lead discussions on trade, financing, and technical aspects of doing business in Africa.  Mission participants will have the opportunity to meet with transportation leaders at the SARA Conference.  Mission participants will participate in the expo and conference, develop business prospects through ITA-hosted networking events, vetted business-to-business matchmaking meetings, roundtable discussions with U.S. and foreign government industry leaders, product presentations, and site visits to manufacturing and infrastructure facilities.

The second destination for the Sub-Saharan Africa Rail and Port Trade Mission is Luanda and Lobito in Angola.  The Angola stop will increase U.S. rail and port companies' awareness and engagement in the Lobito Corridor Project, which is a flagship project under the U.S. State Department's Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.  The Angola mission stop will include business-to-business and business-to-government meetings, a site visits to Angolan ports and rail sites, and networking opportunities coordinated by the International Trade Administration.

Why You Should Join

Participation in the trade mission will include tickets to attend the SARA Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre for each registered U.S. company participant as well as tailored assistance to help connect company delegates with sub-Saharan Government Transportation officials, private-sector railway and port companies and prospective business partners.

U.S. companies mission participants will have several opportunities to network with prospective partners and sub-Saharan government officials, U.S. interagency project financing agency representatives from the Development Finance Corporation, U.S. Export-Import Bank, U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Prosper Africa, and rail and port equipment, technology, and management companies at both the South Africa and Angola stops.                                           

Learn About Our Events

We invite you to explore the wide variety of events that we offer to help U.S. companies expand their global sales.

Commercial Setting
Rail, ports, and mining in Africa are inextricably linked as the primary earners of foreign exchange.  Some rail and port infrastructure is old and is due for refurbishment, but there are new projects on the horizon that U.S. companies are well positioned to compete on.  Reorganization, especially linked to privatization and deregulation, offers substantial new prospects through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

South Africa Rail:
South Africa has the largest legacy railway and port infrastructure network in Africa.  Almost all rail is based on Cape Gauge, while port infrastructure is focused on bulk material exports, vehicle trade, and containerized shipping.  Considerable opportunities for enhancing rail's ability to move minerals and manufactured products is seen with a fundamental reorganization of the business model.  The core notion is that third parties gain access to the network so that additional operators can operate and compete with the state-owned operator and provide services to a multitude of customers.

South Africa Ports:
The South African Government views the country's ports and terminals as key engines for economic growth.  South Africa is situated on one of the busiest international sea routes, critical to international maritime transportation, and its geographical location presents a huge opportunity for investing in a diversified maritime market.

Angola Rail:
The 2023 Angolan national budget allocated US$ 62 million to support the development of the rail sector and economic growth.  To expand the railroad cargo network, the Ministry of Transportation will require passenger, freight, tank carriages, and related operations and maintenance support.  Future Angolan government plans include the construction of three additional lines, totaling over 10,000 km, that will link the three main railroad lines.  However, financing has not yet been identified for this project.

Angola Ports:
As Angola's economy improves and cargo volumes increase, there are opportunities for U.S. companies to export services and products.  These opportunities are related to security, enhancing productivity, and vessel tracking all falling under the umbrella of technology-based port operations.  Past Angolan national budgets have provided multi-million-dollar funding for seaport infrastructure rehabilitation and construction, and more funding will be earmarked for seaports in future budgets.
Proposed Schedule

*Note: The final schedule and potential site visits will depend on the availability of host government and business officials, specific goals of mission participants, and ground transportation.

Monday, August 19, 2024
* Travel to Johannesburg, South Africa
* No-host Dinner with Business Development Mission Participants

Tuesday, August 20, 2024
* U.S. Embassy Team Briefing
* Policy Roundtable with Interagency Partners
* One-on-one Business Matchmaking 
* Evening Reception

Wednesday, August 21, 2024
* SARA Conference Participation
* SARA Networking Events
* One-on-one Business Matchmaking 
* Evening Reception

Thursday, August 22, 2024
* SARA Conference Participation
* One-on-one Business Matchmaking
* Site Visit to Infrastructure Projects
* Travel to Luanda, Angola

Friday, August 23, 2024
* U.S. Embassy Team Briefing:  In-depth discussion on the Lobito Corridor project
* B2B and B2G Meetings
* Site Visit to Port of Luanda
* Evening Networking Reception

Saturday, August 24, 2024
* Travel Benguela
* Drive to Lobito Infrastructure Sites
* B2B and B2G Meetings
* Evening Reception

End of Mission

Fees and Expenses

After a firm or trade association has been selected to participate in the mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the form of a participation fee is required.  The participation fee for the Business Development Mission will be:

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises - $5,775.00
Large Firms - $6,620.00
Each Additional firm representative (large firm or SME/trade organization) - $1,000.00

Expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant.  Interpreter and driver services can be arranged for additional cost.  Delegation members will be able to take advantage of U.S. Embassy rates for hotel rooms. 

If the mission is cancelled, no personal expenses paid in anticipation of the mission will be reimbursed.  However, participation fees for a cancelled mission will be reimbursed to the extent they have not already been expended in anticipation of the mission.

If and when an applicant is selected to participate in a particular mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the amount of the designated participation fee is required.  Upon notification of acceptance to participate, those selected have 5 business days to submit payment or the acceptance may be revoked.

If a visa is required to travel on a particular mission, applying for and obtaining such a visa will be the responsibility of the mission participant.  South African and Angolan fees and processing expenses to obtain such a visa are not included in the participation fee.  However, the Department of Commerce will provide instructions to each participant on the procedures required to obtain business visas.

Business Development Mission members participate in missions and undertake mission-related travel at their own risk.  The nature of the security situation in each foreign market at a given time cannot be guaranteed.  The U.S. Government does not make any representations or guarantees as to the safety or security of participants.  The U.S. Department of State issues U.S. Government international travel alerts and warnings for U.S. citizens available at:
Any questions regarding insurance coverage must be resolved by the participant and it insurer of choice.

Travel and in-person activities are contingent upon the safety and health conditions in the United States and the mission economies.  Should safety or health conditions not be appropriate for travel and/or in-person activities, the Department will consider postponing the event or offering a virtual program in lieu of an in-person agenda.  In the event of a postponement, the Department will notify the public, and applicants previously selected to participate in this mission will need to confirm their availability but need not reapply.  Should the decision be made to organize a virtual program, the Department will adjust fees accordingly, prepare an agenda for virtual activities, and notify the previously selected applicants with the option to opt-in to the new virtual program.
Conditions for Participation

Applicants must submit a signed mission application and supplemental application materials, including adequate information on their products and/or services, primary market objectives, and goals for participation that are adequate to allow the Department of Commerce to evaluate their application.  If the Department of Commerce receives an incomplete application, the Department of Commerce may either:  reject the applications, request additional information/clarification, or take the lack of information into account when evaluating the applications.  If the requisite minimum number of participants is not selected for a particular mission by the recruitment deadline, the mission may be canceled.

Each applicant must also certify that the products and services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced int eh United States, or, if not, are marketed under the name of the U.S. firm and have at least 51% U.S. content by value.  In the case of a trade association or organization, the applicant must certify that, for each firm or service provider to be represented by the association/organization, the products and/or services the represented firm or service provider seeks to export are either produced in the United States, or, if not, are marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least 51% U.S.  content by value.

A trade association/organization applicant must certify and agree to the above for every company it seeks to represent on the mission.  In addition, each applicant must:

* Certify that the products and services that is wishes to market through the mission would be in compliance with U.S. export    controls and regulations;

* Certify that it has identified any matter pending before any bureau or office in the Department of Commerce;

* Certify that is has identified any pending litigation (including any administrative proceedings) to which it is a party that involves the Department of Commerce; and

* Sign and submit an agreement that it and its affiliates (1) have not and will not engage in the bribery of foreign officials in connection with a company's/participant's involvement in the mission, and (2) maintain and enforce a policy that prohibits the bribery of foreign officials.

In the case of a trade association/organization, the applicant must certify that each firm or service provider to be represented by the association/organization can make the above certifications.

Selection Criteria

Targeted mission participants are U.S. firms, service providers and trade associations/organizations providing or promoting U.S. products and services that have an interest in entering or expanding their business in the mission’s destinations.  The following criteria will be evaluated in selecting participants:

*  Suitability of the applicant's (or in the case of a trade association/organization, represented firm's or service provider's) potential for business in the markets;

*  The applicant's (or in the case of trade association/organization, represented firm's or service provider's) potential for business in the markets including likelihood of exports resulting from the mission; and

*  Consistency of the applicant's (or in the case of trade association/organization, represented firm's or service provider's) goals and objectives stated scope of the mission.

Balance of applicants' size and location may also be considered during the review process.  Referrals from a political party or partisan political group or any information, including on the application, containing references to political contributions or other partisan political activities will be excluded from the application and will not be considered during the selection process.  The sender will be notified of these exclusions.

Timeline for Recruitment and Applications

Mission recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, including publication in the Federal Register posting on the Commerce Department trade mission calendar ( and other Internet websites, press releases to general and trade media, direct mail, notices by industry trade associations, and other multiplier groups, and publicity at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade shows.  Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than June 28, 2024.  The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and inform applicants of selection decisions on a rolling basis.  Applications received after June 28, 2024, will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.

Questions? Contacts

Luke Yanos (Project Lead)
U.S. Commercial Service - Chicago
(872) 327-8038

John Tracy (Project Team)
U.S. Commercial Service - Syracuse
(315) 944-6500

Matthew Case (Project Team)

U.S. Commercial Service - Boston
(339) 222-9509

Michel Nouafo (Project Team)

U.S. Commercial Service - Cleveland
(216) 695-5338

Juanita Harthun (Global Automotive and Smart Mobility Team Leader)

U.S. Commercial Service - Charlotte