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USMEF Africa Representative Joins USDA’s First Trade Mission to Angola

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Building on previous work for U.S. beef in Angola, USMEF’s participation on USDA’s trade mission brings collaboration and meetings with potential partners.

While hurdles remain on the African continent, growth forecasts related to population, GDP, personal income and tourism keep the region top-of-mind for the U.S. red meat industry. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) sees the same potential and is taking critical steps to help U.S. companies and cooperators become involved in targeted countries. USMEF Africa Representative Matt Copeland was a member of the USDA delegation taking part in the agency's first agribusiness trade mission to Angola for market briefings, visits with prospective buyers and other trade meetings. The delegation also met with trade from the neighboring country of Republic of the Congo.

USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small prepares a U.S. beef sample during a U.S. meat promotion at a Fresmart retail outlet in Luanda, Angola.

Copeland praised Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small and Mark Slupek, deputy administrator of global programs for FAS, for their guidance and leadership during the trade mission.

“It was a very productive mission with strategic discussions about Angola’s opportunities and challenges as well as idea-sharing about how we may overcome hurdles,” said Copeland.

There are opportunities here for U.S. beef and pork, he adds, and one of USMEF’s challenges is to educate buyers about the quality attributes that differentiate U.S. red meat from competitors.

USMEF Africa Representative Matt Copeland (right) speaks with USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small (center) during the USDA trade mission to Angola.

In previous visits to Angola, Copeland met with targeted traders and raised awareness about the availability of U.S. beef in the market.  In preparation for the trade mission, Copeland collaborated with the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council on a media event and U.S. meat promotion at Fresmart, the leading retail chain in Luanda with an established cold-chain infrastructure for its 47 outlets. The promotion runs through October.

"This trade mission is another example of how FAS is investing in Africa’s potential,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, pointing to USDA’s new international trade promotion program supporting eligible projects that enable exporters to break into new markets and increase market share in growth markets.

“In the mid 1980's Mexico was a spot business market with a risky credit situation and unreliable logistics,” Halstrom adds. “Today, Mexico is one of our largest and most reliable markets with a very efficient logistical system. Relatively speaking, we can expect Africa to develop much more quickly due to the presence of technology and the very young African demographic.”

USMEF’s participation in the mission was funded through support from the Beef Checkoff Program.