U.S. beef enters exciting new territory this weekend with its first-ever formal promotion in West Africa. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has teamed with the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) office in Dakar, Senegal, for a tasting event at the Radisson Blu Hotel showcasing high-quality cuts of U.S. beef. The event also marks the beginning of a two-week U.S. beef menu promotion at the hotel.
John Brook, USMEF regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, explains that the goal of the tasting event and menu promotion is to trigger lasting business opportunities for U.S. exporters interested in serving the West Africa region. He adds that while the economies and income levels in West Africa do not generally accommodate widespread marketing of U.S. beef, promotional efforts targeting high-end hotels and restaurants in major metropolitan areas could pay significant dividends. The potential quantity of U.S. beef that will be purchased in these markets is fairly limited, but could represent profitable ventures for some suppliers because of the high-end sector being served.
While South Africa is currently closed to U.S. beef due to lingering BSE restrictions, most African nations are at least partially open. The level of market access varies, however, based on product restrictions and duty rates.