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US should shift focus in Africa from aid to trade, analysts and officials say

US should shift focus in Africa from aid to trade, analysts and officials say

The U.S. needs a new approach to Africa that is focused more on developing commercial ties and less on providing aid, analysts and government officials said Friday. Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event, Erin Walsh, assistant secretary of Commerce for global markets, said it was critical for the U.S. to pivot from a focus on aid to Africa to one of commercial engagement with African countries. To that end, she said, the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, which is led by Commerce...

23 February 2018
USTR Lighthizer's African dream

USTR Lighthizer's African dream

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sparked a new conversation in trade circles on Wednesday when he floated the idea of the Trump administration launching bilateral trade negotiations with an African country "before very long."  "Personally, I think that before very long we're going to have to pick out an African country — properly selected — and enter into a free trade agreement with that country," he said in an interview on Sirius XM radio channel "Patriot 125." "And then that will, if done properly, become a...

01 February 2018 | Megan Cassella
USTR Lighthizer: US will soon select an African country for a 'model' free trade deal

USTR Lighthizer: US will soon select an African country for a 'model' free trade deal

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer expects the U.S. will soon strike a free trade deal with a “properly selected” African country that will become a model for others in the region, he said on Wednesday.   During a radio interview at the White House, Lighthizer was asked about the potential for U.S. trade in the African region – something covered by the African Growth and Opportunities Act, which he said was designed to “get these economies to start moving forward” with “rules and structure that allows...

31 January 2018
Sourcing Journal: An uncertain future for AGOA?

Sourcing Journal: An uncertain future for AGOA?

Sub-Saharan Africa has both been the land of sourcing opportunity and the land where trade was most likely to remain close to status quo amid other potential adjustments to U.S. agreements. Now, the U.S. may be set to take a closer look at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which affords eligible African countries duty free sourcing to the U.S. AGOA was renewed in 2015 and is set to remain in place until 2025, at which point it will again be up for renewal consideration. Since its inception in 2000, qualifying African countries...

20 June 2017 | Tara Donaldson
Cooperating, not competing, in Africa: a case for Transatlantic rapprochement

Cooperating, not competing, in Africa: a case for Transatlantic rapprochement

With the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum ending in Washington this week and the European Parliament approving further trade agreements with six African states earlier this month, the apparent race for African trade continues to intensify. This is no great surprise given the GDP of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is expected to grow 30 percent faster than the rest of the world over the next five years. By 2030, the region will have a quarter of both the world’s workforce and consumers. However, if we are serious about wanting...

07 October 2016 | Frank Samolis and Stacy Swanson
US and Africa to make trade history - US govt official

US and Africa to make trade history - US govt official

In July, US President Barack Obama visited Africa and shared an important message at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi and at the African Union in Addis Ababa. He said: "As Africa changes, I’ve called on the world to change its approach to Africa. So many Africans have told me, we don’t want just aid, we want trade that fuels progress. We don’t want patrons, we want partners who help us build our own capacity to grow. We don’t want the indignity of dependence, we want to make our own choices…" Today, citizens of...

16 September 2015 | STEFAN SELIG
EAC push for long-term trade pact with US to replace AGOA

EAC push for long-term trade pact with US to replace AGOA

The East African Community is pushing for a long-term preferential trade agreement with the United States that will remove uncertainties surrounding the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The five member states have submitted their request to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the modalities and the time to start negotiations on the pact. According to EAC Director General of Customs and Trade Peter Kiguta, the USTR is expected to present the request at the next US Congress meeting. If accepted, the region expects to...

07 September 2015
East Africa: Technical officials discuss EAC-US trade and investment partnership in Bujumbura

East Africa: Technical officials discuss EAC-US trade and investment partnership in Bujumbura

Technical Officials from the East African Community (EAC) and the United States (U.S.) met 12 to 15 February 2014 in Bujumbura, Burundi to discuss Trade Africa and the EAC - U.S. Trade and Investment Partnership (TIP). In particular, the Technical Officials discussed among others, the Ministerial guidance provided in August 2013; AGOA; Regional Investment Treaty; Trade Facilitation; Trade Capacity Building, and Commercial Dialogue. Both Parties reviewed a summary of the last EAC - U.S. Trade Ministerial Meeting held on the sidelines of the...

17 February 2014 | Owora Richard Othieno
How the ECOWAS-EU EPA could affect AGOA

How the ECOWAS-EU EPA could affect AGOA

In what could be a 'breakthrough' for both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU), the EU announced that "the two entities reached a deal at the level of senior officials on EPAs, more than a decade after negotiations began. A final meeting to officially endorse the deal as it stands is foreseen in Brussels for early February. It will then have to be endorsed by West African Heads of State."   While similar reports in the past were premature, there is strong evidence that this may be correct...

14 February 2014 | Dennis Matanda and Stephen Lande
US plans to deepen ties with Gambia

US plans to deepen ties with Gambia

The United States charge d'affaires to The Gambia has assured that his country will continue to seek ways to work together with the latter, extend cooperation and deepen ties, saying the two countries have been partners since pre-independence. Speaking on the topic "the ongoing relationship between The Gambia and USA" during the third annual business dinner, organised in Brufut by the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in The Gambia, Richard Yoneaka assured that they are open for business in the quest to promote economic...

02 December 2013 | OMAR WALLY
What we know and don't know about trade with Africa

What we know and don't know about trade with Africa

On September 30, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman wrote a letter to Irving Williamson, chairman of the International Trade Commission, regarding the African Growth and Opportunity Act. In the letter, Froman requested that the International Trade Commission conduct four investigations and provide four reports related to AGOA and our trade relationship with Africa. The results will likely bring sanity to our approach to trade with Africa, and it may very well force changes in how we develop future trade agreements and policy...

18 November 2013 | STEPHEN HAYES
Congress should pave the way for a US–Africa Free Trade Agreement - Report

Congress should pave the way for a US–Africa Free Trade Agreement - Report

Since 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has contributed to more than doubling trade with AGOA-eligible countries. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly viable economic partners that deserve focused attention and deeper engagement. If the U.S. fails to advance AGOA beyond a trade-preference arrangement, it risks losing ground to Europe and other nations eager to enter into more robust economic partnerships. Congress and the Obama Administration should work together to renew and upgrade AGOA to advance economic...

19 August 2013 | B.Schaefer, A.Kim and C Florance
East Africa: Obama's deal to double East African Community trade

East Africa: Obama's deal to double East African Community trade

President Barrack Obama of the United States recently launched a project dubbed 'Trade Africa' aimed at doubling intra-regional trade in the five partner states of the East African Community (EAC). The project will hopefully see EAC exports to the US go up by 40%, reduce by 15% the average time needed to import or export a container from the ports of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam to land-locked Burundi and Rwanda in the EAC's interior.This new partnership between the US and the EAC will also decrease by 30% the average time a truck takes to...

05 August 2013 | DAVID MUWANGA
Tanzania: Obama launches major African trade initiative

Tanzania: Obama launches major African trade initiative

President Obama on July 1 launched a major trade partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa aimed at expanding trade. Obama told a meeting of 22 chief executive officers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that "Trade Africa" is designed to expand trade and economic ties between Africa and the United States and global markets. "Today, I'm announcing a new initiative -- Trade Africa -- to boost trade with and within Africa, starting with the East African Community," Obama said at the business roundtable. The initiative aims to...

02 July 2013 | United States Department of State
Obama sets out vision of US-Africa partnership

Obama sets out vision of US-Africa partnership

US President Barack Obama on Sunday night used the keynote address of his visit to the University of Cape Town to set out a vision for a new partnership with Africa that would include, in the immediate term, a large US investment in electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa and a summit of all African leaders with his government next year. While extremely positive about Africa’s opportunities, Mr Obama was also frank about the continent’s problems, saying that unless Africans could reduce corruption, build genuine democracy and work...

01 July 2013 | CAROL PATON
Malawi, US seek to boost bilateral trade, investment

Malawi, US seek to boost bilateral trade, investment

Acting U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis met March 29 with Malawi President Joyce Banda in Washington for discussions of how both governments can stimulate two-way trade and investment, strengthen Malawi's business environment and contribute to regional growth. In 2012, two-way U.S.-Malawi trade was $129.9 million — a 7 percent increase from 2011. U.S. exports to Malawi mainly consisted of wheat, pharmaceuticals and machinery, while U.S. imports from Malawi consisted of tobacco, apparel, tea, macadamia nuts and sugar,...

01 April 2013
TIFA will help ease trade in West Africa

TIFA will help ease trade in West Africa

The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that is being considered by the US Government with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will help goods move more easily and faster within the sub-region, Sam Ntum, a Senior International Trade Specialist of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, has told the B&FT. Announced on March 29 by the acting United States Trade Representative (USTR), Demetrios Marantis, during a visit to Washington of President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone,...

08 March 2013 | Bernard Yaw ASHIADEY
Behind the times: Washington's slow changing attitude to Africa

Behind the times: Washington's slow changing attitude to Africa

Africa's international relationships are increasingly hinged on trade and investment rather than strategic security and aid, but attitudes in Washington are slow to change. While many Africans were celebrating President Barack Obama's re-election victory, arguably a more important leadership shift was taking place across the Indian Ocean. Xi Jinping, chosen by the Beijing elite to lead China for the next decade, may not be a household name outside of his home country, but he will be presiding over what may be Africa’s single most...

16 January 2013 | This is Africa
The future of AGOA and US-Africa trade

The future of AGOA and US-Africa trade

At a time when the US was struggling to stay on its two feet in the heat of a looming economic meltdown in 2008, were hopes of better trade deals with Africa unrealistic when President Barack Obama was elected into office? Despite the domestic problems in which Obama's administration was embroiled, the criticisms and questions came from many African quarters: Why did Obama wait for nine months after he'd been sworn in before naming his Ambassador to the African Union? Why is China doing better on the continent in terms of trade? With its...

05 January 2013 | The Africa Report