The AGOA.info online information and exporter support portal on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was launched at the start of 2002, having been conceptualised by Eckart Naumann and Trudi Hartzenberg of the Trade Law Center (tralac). It is aimed primarily at supporting the Sub-Saharan African trade community, communities, and business stakeholders, as well as US private and public sector stakeholders, and specifically at industry and the business community (producers, potential and actual exporters and importers), journalists and media houses, policy-makers, the research and academic community, and others. Ultimately, the aim is to build and enhance knowledge, capacity and transparency on all matters pertaining to US-Africa trade, and help deepen bilateral engagement on trade, investment, and general cooperation.
The core drivers for the development of this portal include the following:
- The absence, at the time, of AGOA-related information, and the generally dispersed nature of data and value-added information relating to US-Africa trade;
- The unprecedented non-reciprocal US market access and opportunities provided by the AGOA legislation to qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries, offered by the legislation since late in 2000 and currently available through 2025 following various renewals along the way;
- The perceived shortcomings in awareness among traders and producers in Africa and the United States regarding the scale and scope of opportunities that AGOA provides, especially with regard to product coverage and local processing requirements (e.g. rules of origin, and other technical themes);
- The need for accessible trade data, regularly updated, on African exports to the United States on both an aggregate and individual country basis, and covering key sectors;
- The need for a central repository for AGOA-related research, national AGOA strategies, AGOA eligibility reviews, all forms of AGOA-related legislation, and other publications on US trade and investment with Africa, and ultimately to serve as the institutional record of AGOA.
This site forms part of tralac’s (www.tralac.org) initiatives to disseminate trade law and related information to Africa and globally and is supplemented by projects that will enhance the value of this offering.
This approach ensures that through the ongoing publication and analysis of AGOA-related developments, and the provision of the latest available trade data for all AGOA-beneficiary countries and the United States, the potential benefits and opportunities of AGOA are enhanced.
AGOA.info therefore serves as a vehicle for the efficient and effective dissemination of AGOA-related information among stakeholders in both Sub-Saharan Africa and the US.
At the beginning of 2013, the original website (online since the start of 2002) was revamped and redesigned, and the content offerings significantly expanded, through the financial support of a grant by the USAID Southern African Trade Hub. Additional content areas were identified, including reciprocal trade and investment arrangements between the US and African countries (“US-Africa Bilaterals”), and the addition of more exporter-focused resources (“Exporter Toolkit”). The 'Bilaterals' section houses US-Africa trade and investment related agreements and tracks developments with regard to any Free Trade Area developments. Many of the toolkit components on this site have been created or facilitated primarily by the USAID Trade Hubs based in Africa (Accra, Gaborone and Nairobi) and will continue to evolve and expand.
tralac is proud to partner with the USAID Africa Trade and Investment (ATI) program since the start of 2023, whose support in turn enables the continued provision, development and expansion of AGOA-related content and support to stakeholders, as well as technical maintenance of the site.