As a result of a high-level trade mission to Africa this month, a new Hilton hotel may be built on the Ivory Coast, new housing will be constructed in Cameroon, and Nigerians can eat home-grown spaghetti.
Those were some of the results of a mission headed by Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige and Agriculture Secretary John R. Block to Nigeria, Morocco, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, Baldrige said.
The mission, which ended yesterday, was intended to demonstrate to West Africa that the United States is "interested in increasing our ties, diplomatic as well as in trade," Baldrige told reporters. "The level of the mission clearly showed that."
"They've been neglected for a long time, our relations with the Third World," Baldrige continued. The goal of strengthening relations "was achieved without any doubt."
The United States last year had a trade deficit with all of the countries visited except Morocco, whose $1.9 billion deficit with the United States in 1980 has continued to rise.
The mission included executives of 30 U.S. firms, some of whom signed deals for construction, engineering and agricultural trade projects or began negotiations on them, Baldrige said. Some of the projects negotiated involved American firms providing multiple housing units, telecommunications services and oil-drilling equipment. In Nigeria, for example, American firms were able to negotiate engineering services for a $100 million dam, a poultry agreement for 50 million chicks and a deal to sell 130,000 hogs.
An American firm is in the final stages of building a factory to make pasta from rice flour in Nigeria and the H. J. Heinz Co. is planning to set up a tomato paste factory in Cameroon, Baldrige said.