Escalating relations US SA
13 November 2019
One of the goals of newly-arrived Ambassador-designate of the USA, Mrs Lana Marks, is to ensure that women realize their full professional and economic potential. Marks was speaking at a press briefing after landing on South African soil just 3 days before.
“The United States is piloting the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs here in South Africa and, through our TechWomen program we are bringing together emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics mentorships and exchange programs. I will continue to advocate for women’s empowerment through these and other initiatives,” said Marks.
Marks was born in East London, South Africa and left for the USA in the 1970s. In 1987 she started her business from her kitchen table and has developed LANA MARKS fashion brand into an international brand with boutiques all across the world.
Ambassador – designate Lana Marks says that she believes in job creation, in entrepreneurship for youngsters and in self-empowerment. The cornerstone of her mission, she said, is expanding trade and increasing investment.
Having arrived in the country just in time to attend President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second Investment Summit, Marks said that the United States - “our government, our businesses, our investors – greatly values the partnership between our two nations.”
The United States is South Africa’s third largest trading partner, with two-way trade in 2018 valued at 13.7 billion dollars, or over 203 billion rand, and, said Marks, “as you’ll soon learn about me, I’m not one to settle for third place.”
The US-South Africa Business Council was launched at the South African Investment Conference, and the Prosper Africa initiative aims to play matchmaker between businsses of the two countries.
The on-the-ground issues that affect South African such as HIV/AIDS and crime were also addressed by Ambassador-designate Marks. Over the past 15 years the US spent R80 billion in South Africa to support HIV prevention and testing.
Listening and learning is what Ambassador-designate Marks intends to do during her first weeks in her new role.