Federal Policy Agenda

The National African Business Association (NABA) is a business support group whose mission is to enhance urban development through trade and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa. NABA supports African-based businesses to help transform small urban communities into global communities with a focus on minority women based enterprises to enhance and develop their quality of life as well as presenting opportunities for both educational and economic transformation. In addition, NABA supports and represents business owners at the public policy level to help benefit business owners through professional development, business planning, marketing and matchmaking services.

In addition, NABA are registered lobbyists at the federal level.

Africa has become an explosive market of trade and commerce in the past few years. While the federal government works on reauthorizing the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) the National African Business Association is seeking to deepen ties with our state lawmakers in Lansing to open the doors of opportunity between the State of Michigan and various regions in Africa to help rebuild our urban communities in Michigan. The National African Business Association focuses on three things, economic/business development, educational reform and smart public policy.

A. Domestic Policies

 1. The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program was enacted through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-240) on September 27, 2010. The legislation directs the Treasury Department to guarantee the full amount of notes or bonds issued to support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that make investments for eligible community or economic development purposes. The bonds or notes will support CDFI lending and investment by providing a source of long-term, patient capital to CDFIs.

Authorized uses of the loans financed may include a variety of financial activities, such as supporting commercial facilities that promote revitalization, community stability, and job creation/retention; community facilities; the provision of basic financial services; housing that is principally affordable to low-income people; businesses that provide jobs for low-income people or are owned by low-income people; and community or economic development in low-income or underserved rural areas.

2. The National African Business Association supports the Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act. Chief among the changes are proposals to shorten the amount of time that black marks remain on a credit report from seven to four years, remove all settled debts from the report and erase private student loan defaults for borrowers once they make nine consecutive, on-time payments. Sweden limits the credit reporting period to three years and Germany limits the period to four years. We require for the credit reporting agencies to delete any adverse item within 45 days of it being paid or settled. That means if you settled your defaulted credit card debt or disposed of your home via a short sale, the item would be removed 45 days after the item was updated to show a zero balance, as if it never existed.

B. International Education

National African Business Association concurs with other educational policymakers that international students, scholars, and their families is a vital asset to the United States’ academic and scientific innovation, economic vitality, future security, and global leadership. They also contribute billions of dollars each year to the U.S. economy; bring global perspectives to our classrooms and innovation to our labs; and make it possible for universities and colleges to offer advanced STEM courses and other programming and services for all students on campus. International education is necessary at the K-12 level here in the United States because we are competing with the rest of the world.

To enhance the nation’s economic vitality, future security, and global leadership, U.S. colleges and universities must exponentially increase study abroad opportunities for their students.

  • Identify innovative state-level funding sources for students who wish to study abroad like the Texas International Education Fee.

  • Make state financial aid portable for time spent studying overseas.

  • Urge K-12 educational leaders to make study abroad a priority and break down barriers on campus to study abroad by integrating study abroad into as many programs as possible, involving faculty in designing and teaching study abroad programs, and creating programs that accommodate nontraditional students.

  • Develop a proactive recruitment and marketing strategy for international students, coordinating relevant federal agencies,

  • Reform employment-based immigration policy, increasing green card and H-1B availability.

C. United States-Africa Policies (NABA Foreign Policy)

  1. The National African Business Association supports amending the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). NABA supports the advance of AGOA only if the U.S. use AGOA to spur African economic integration and ultimately transform the trade-preference program into a FTA between the U.S. and Africa.

The National African Business Association recommends the following:

  • Local content rules should require that all U.S. investments in Africa should tier up over a set period to at least 80 percent local labor and local contracts – characterized by genuine registration – and should require investment in local capacity where it proves too poor to meet the necessary standards.

  • Targeted quotas should be used to channel foreign investment to where it’s needed most, rather than to where the regulations are most relaxed.

  • Incentivize economic integration while encouraging AGOA-eligible countries to pursue greater economic freedom. AGOA has facilitated trade expansion for African However, tariffs and quotas remain on a number of goods that could significantly benefit African economies and U.S. consumers at a relatively small cost to U.S. producers. AGOA should reward African progress toward economic integration and economic freedom by linking those steps to expansion of duty-free treatment and elimination of quotas on key products.

  • Two-way Trade. Like other U.S. preference programs, AGOA provides preferential access to the U.S. market with no reciprocal preferential U.S. access to the beneficiary countries. In light of economic improvements in the region, some observers are now calling for a greater focus on two-way trade in AGOA.

2. Women Empowerment

The National African Business Association strongly supports the great strides and commitments many African countries and the African Union have made to increase women’s and girls’ empowerment through steps to promote good governance and rule of law, accelerate economic growth and enhance food security, advance respect for human rights, and improve access to services – from health care to education.

However, we still need to do more. Therefore, NABA is committing new assistance to advance gender equality in Africa through the following:

  • Support for up to three countries to develop or implement national strategies to advance women’s participation in peacebuilding and their protection from violence.

  • Supports training for women to run for political office and advocate for legislation that promotes women’s rights across sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Elimination of domestic violence towards women on the continent of Africa with legislation that will help protect women.

  • Supports the African Union, the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group, African countries, and our U.S. lawmakers to promote women economic empowerment to women in sub-Saharan Africa can have access to markets, capital, and assets, and to advance women’s leadership, voice, and agency.

  • Support an existing network of more than 1,700 sub-Saharan African women entrepreneurs to help expand their businesses, facilitate professional exchanges, increase trade to the United States, and benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, through the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program.

  • Supports public-private partnership to conduct national violence against children surveys, building the foundation for evidence-based solutions to end sexual violence against children, especially girls. Elimination of international aid towards the sexual exploitation of girls and women in nations like Malawi.

  • Provided business development training and investment to female entrepreneurs working to bring clean energy access to more than 3.5 million people over the next three years through the Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables

  • Supports judicial and law enforcement sectors working to improve access to justice for gender based violence (GBV) survivors.

  • Supports women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and math fields in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Supports agricultural programs which strengthens the skills of African women scientists in research and leadership, and encourages research to improve the lives of smallholder famers.

3. Continued Support of Electrify Africa Act of 2015

According to U.S. House Republicans, 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity. This totals to about 600 million people. The Tony Elumelu Foundation wrote in support of the bill that a lack of electricity has reduced the growth of African businesses and contributed heavily to the spread of disease and to infant mortality rates. They also mentioned that roughly 90 million children attend school without electricity. The Electrify Africa Act would preserve the Power Africa Initiative by making electricity in Africa a foreign policy priority.

4. Young African Leadership Initiative

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

The National African Business Association first came in contact with YALI in July 2016 and developed an International Advisory Council from the meeting. NABA supports the YALI through the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

D. Immigration

1. The National African Business Association supports the development of a proposed E-4 Visa. The National African Business Association’s policy team has come up with a new visa called the E-4 Visa. The E-4 will be a new visa category only for Sub-Saharan Africans going to the U.S. to work in a specialty that is in the field of technology, Pre-K-20 education, medical, agriculture, construction, real estate development, or transportation in low income areas. E-4 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Sub-Saharan African citizens. NABA’s aim is to merge the diversity visa with the E-4 to make it more effective and flexible for Sub-Saharan African nationals to enter into the United States.

2. The National African Business Association supports the authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Program is a temporary pilot program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that allows foreign nationals to obtain an EB-5 visa for permanent residence in the United States by investing between $500,000 and $1 million (depending on where the investment is made) and creating or preserving 10 or more American jobs. NABA supports the right of foreign investors to acquire U.S. real property as well as the  free flow of international finance for real estate, subject to the same laws and regulations that govern U.S. investors.

3. Regional Visas. Like H-1B employment visas, regional visas would last three years and could be extended to six years. The visas would be “dual-intent,” meaning that holders could apply for permanent residency (and eventually citizenship). The states would sponsor these visas according to their own economic needs, reserving the right to require visa holders to live in specific cities or regions. Visa holders would have to find full-time employment and remain in good standing under American law. They would be free to bring dependents for the duration of their time in the United States.

4. STEM Visa. Allow foreign STEM graduate students to move from OPT to temporary residency status. They will stay in temporary residency status for 3 years, where they will work in their field and if necessary will pay 2-5 percent additional income tax to fund US STEM programs from K-12 level. After three years, upon checking work history and tax history, STEM foreign students will get permanent residency.

E. Proposed Resolutions

1. House Resolution urging the Government of Malawi to stop the sexual exploitation of underage girls.

2. House Resolution urging the Government of Nigeria to support the passing of gender equality legislation to protect and empower women.

F. Resolutions

S.Res.479 - A resolution urging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to comply with constitutional limits on presidential terms and fulfill its constitutional mandate for a democratic transition of power in 2016.

H.Res 821. Urging the Government of Gabon to respect democratic principles during the August2016presidential elections. Sponsor: Rep. Smith, Christopher (R-NJ-4)

H.Res.371 Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a “National African Immigrant Heritage Month” in September to celebrate the great contributions of Americans of African immigrant heritage in the United States who have enriched the history of the Nation. Sponsor Rep. Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY-9]

S.2161 Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2015 Adjusts to permanent resident status a qualifying Liberian national who: (1) has been continuously present in the United States between January 1, 2013, through the date of status adjustment application; or (2) is the spouse, child, or unmarried son or daughter of such an alien. Sponsor: Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI]