The Small Business Administration will be leading a forum in Ghana next week focusing on sub-Saharan Africa's small and midsize business sector, the agency announced Friday.

The annual event brings together representatives from nearly 40 African nations.

SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza, who will speak on behalf of the U.S. delegation, will lead a workshop on the role the SBA plays in supporting the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, a law that encourages African countries to open their economies to free markets.

"In Africa, as in the United States, small businesses play an essential role in driving economic development and growth, and breaking into the global economy is not only a challenge, but a path to success," Carranza said in a statement.

Last year, the United States launched a $200 million African Global Competitiveness Initiative to strengthen business across Africa. That year, U.S.-African trade reached more than $71 billion.

The AGOA Forum will take place on July 18- 19 in Accra, Ghana.

Published on: Jul 13, 2007