AFRICAN BUSINESS GROUP TO SET UP US AFFILIATE

AFRICAN BUSINESS GROUP TO SET UP US AFFILIATE

The African Business Round Table, a group of Africa's top entrepreneurs, is setting up a U.S. affiliate to strengthen U.S. business links with the African continent.

The group, which would include a broad membership from Fortune 500 companies to small firms, would also act as a lobbying group to build U.S. government support for programs to improve Africa's business climate.At a joint congressional hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa and the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade last week, John N. Moore, an executive vice chairman of the round table, announced the effort. Mr. Moore is president of Ibcon Ltd., a company based in the United Kingdom and Benin that has interests in steel and agribusinesses in Africa.

Mr. Moore, an American, told the committee that the affiliate also would help channel technical assistance, managerial expertise, training and other support to emerging African firms. Representatives from major multinational firms with operations in Africa would serve on the advisory board of the unit, known as ABR-USA.

Mima S. Nedelcovych, the U.S. executive director of the African Development Bank, said the round table is talking to many of the companies that are members of the African Growth Fund, including General Motors Corp., Detroit, Mich.; Caterpillar Inc., Preoria, Ill.; and others. The unit, to be based in Washington, D.C., is expected to begin operations between September and

December, he said.

Right now, a company must be based in Africa to be a member of the round table, which was created several years ago as an advisory board to develop the private sector strategy of the African Development Bank.

The group was later established as an independent non-profit organization in March 1990 and has its headquarters in bank's Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, office.