USATD aims to facilitate US$300m in export sales between Africa and the US through 2025 with an initial focus on specialty foods 

South Africa table grapes

700 containers of South African-grown table grapes are set to ship to the US starting in November 2024

Prosper Africa, a US government initiative created to increase trade and investment between the US and Africa, has announced US-Africa Trade Desk (USATD) has secured its first trade deal for 700 containers (1.26m crates) of South African-grown table grapes set to ship in November 2024.  

The US$56m deal was signed at the Africa Pavilion at the Summer Fancy Foods Trade Show and is financed with a structured trade facility by EAS Advisors and Scipion Capital. It is designed to enhance the value for African producers by providing firm off-take prices and removing market volatility. 

The USATD is a joint venture between Prosper Africa and Afritex Ventures, which aims to facilitate at least US$300m in export sales between Africa and the US through 2025. Initially, the focus will be on specialty food products including peppadews, stonefruit, citrus, and high-value herbs and vegetables.  

The South African table grapes will ship in the first week of November 2024 and continue through April 2025, filling the gaps of the US domestic growing season. USATD will facilitate the entire transaction, providing an end-to-end solution that bridges the gap between retailer needs in the US and African production. 

“I am excited to not only celebrate USATD’s first ever deal, but also the first time ever that South African grape producers have had the ability to directly export to US retailers at scale,” said Prosper Africa coordinator, British A Robinson.  

“Prosper Africa is proud to work with African companies to help them leverage the African Growth and Opportunity Act and facilitate their partnerships with US buyers, who want to diversify their suppliers and find top quality products for their consumers.” 

In addition to facilitating buyer-producer relationships, the USATD will also consolidate logistics, insurance, and track and trace technology from farm to retailer to simplify trade.  

Gavin van der Burgh, USATD chief commercial officer said he was pleased with the outcome of the deal that is set to fill a large gap in the key commodities market.  

“Through this deal, we have harnessed the agro export potential of African nations,” he said. 

USATD also signed a memorandum of understanding with Baylis Emerging Markets, an Africa-focused investment manager, to further expand trade and investment opportunities between the US and African nations.  

Franklin Amoo, chief executive and managing partner of Baylis and a member of the President’s Advisory Council for Doing Business in Africa, said “the minimal-risk nature of this deal has opened the door to more partnerships, including our new structured financing partnership with USATD”.