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Ethiopia pushes to keep AGOA access amid US rights concerns

Ethiopia urged the U.S. to let it retain market access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) because disqualification will deprive many people of their livelihoods in the conflict-wracked country. A withdrawal of the preferential access would put as many as 85,000 direct jobs at risk and about 1 million across the entire value chain, Ethiopia’s Chief Trade Negotiator Mamo Meheretu said in an interview from the capital, Addis Ababa.   Mamo made the comments after the U.S. Trade Representative in August raised concerns...

08 October 2021 | Samuel Gebre and Fasika Tadesse

Ethiopia 'lashes out at US over possible trade pact expulsion'

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came out swinging on Thursday against US threats to remove Ethiopia from a key trade pact over the humanitarian crisis in Tigray. The prime minister’s office released a video urging the United States not to expel Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which grants eligible participants in Sub-Saharan Africa duty-free access to the US market for thousands of products. The video highlights a woman named Saron working in an Ethiopian garment factory using the Twitter hashtag #LetHerWork. It...

08 October 2021 | Bryant Harris

'Safety issues and Nigeria’s agricultural export potential'

Sir: Growing Nigeria’s non-oil export is critical to the much-sought economic growth, employment and poverty reduction. Not least, in light of the reality of hydrocarbon resources losing its reliability and honoured position as a revenue source. Over the years, this realisation has spawned myriad of non-export campaigns, commentaries as well as other initiatives aimed at creating export opportunities for developing countries like Nigeria. It is my considered view, that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for instance, enacted...

06 October 2021 | Abachi Ungbo

Togo's textile focused SEZ aims to create value-added textile supply chain

Togo’s ‘PIA’, a textile focussed SEZ, aims to create an eco-system for textile value chains and offer multiple incentives to foreign investors investing in the Textile Park.  A West African nation ‘Togo’ recently established the Adétikopé Industrial Platform (PIA), a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) conceptualised by ARISE IIP, to unlock the growth potential and promote the industrialisation of Togo. Located along the strategic location of Lomé-Burkina industrial corridor, ‘PIA’ is the country’s first industrial...

05 October 2021

Ethiopia: AmCham urges policy makers not to revoke AGOA privilege

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia (AmCham Ethiopia), has asked the US and Ethiopian governments and policymakers not to rush to revoke Ethiopia form the list of the privileged countries that has granted an access to export products to the United States (US) market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA trade program provides duty-free access for 38 Sub-Saharan African countries to export their product to the US on the conditions that they required to meet a certain eligibility criteria’s, such as eliminating...

02 October 2021 | Sisay Sahlu

2021 AGOA Civil Society Organization network session of the AGOA Forum [*with Zoom link]

The 19th AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO)Network Session of the AGOA Forum will take place October 6-8, 2021, during AfrICANDO 2021 under the theme “US-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation: The Way Forward.”  The AGOA CSO Network Session will be followed by the 19th AGOA Ministerial Forum October 20-21, 2021, in Washington, DC and virtually.  [See update and Zoom link further down] Recommendations from the AGOA CSO Network Session and the private sector to be presented to the Ministers of Trade from Sub-Saharan Africa...

28 September 2021 | Fred Oladeinde

US-Africa trade policy faces future uncertainties

US trade policy toward Africa is facing a conundrum. Much has changed in the two decades since the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) set the framework for trade between the world's largest economy and its poorest continent. Many observers advocate new policies to increase U.S.-Africa trade and investment, especially with Agoa expiring in 2025. Yet the policy path is less clear than when Agoa became law, and the prospects for a substantial African trade initiative gaining political support are more challenging. When Congress passed...

21 September 2021

AAFA formalizes relationship with Kenya Association of Manufacturers to promote economic growth

Today, the American Apparel & Footwear Association signed a memorandum of understanding in cooperation with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). As the representatives of the apparel and footwear industry in both the United States and Kenya, the groups have agreed to collaborate on policy areas that are of mutual interest to its membership through joint advocacy and information sharing on industry best practices. The MOU was signed by AAFA President and CEO Steve Lamar and KAM Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga during a ceremony...

20 September 2021

Nigeria: How exporters can boost non-oil export with e-commerce - NEPC

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has tasked exporters in the country to explore e-commerce to boost Nigeria’s non-oil export sector and reach global markets. The Regional Coordinator, South West, NEPC, Mr Samuel Oyeyipo, made the call while speaking at a sensitization workshop organized by the agency in Lagos themed Earn Dollars by Selling on Amazon. Speaking on the situation caused by the global pandemic on Nigerian export businesses, Mr Oyeyipo cited that conditions have necessitated exporters to think out of the box...

14 September 2021 | Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

Kenya seeks US market access for fresh oregano, parsley

Kenya has asked the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) to authorise the importation of fresh oregano and parsley to the US from Kenya. Aphis has drafted a pest risk assessment that describes potential pests associated with the commodities ahead of the possible approval process.  Download and view the documents at the links alongside The agency is making the assessment available for public comment before it finalises its draft assessment that identifies pest control measures...

07 September 2021 | Business Daily Africa

Biden eyes up Africa as new trade market, reboots Trump-era initiative

The Joe Biden administration has announced plans to revamp the Trump-era Prosper Africa initiative, as it works to “substantially increase” two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa. With a focus on infrastructure, clean energy and healthcare, the White House said in recent weeks that it would kickstart a new Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, having also requested US$80m from Congress in additional funding resources. “Our goal is to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and...

01 September 2021 | Felix Thompson

US says war in Ethiopia's north could affect trade benefits

The ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia's north could affect the country's trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said. The AGOA trade programme provides sub-Saharan African nations duty-free access to the United States on the condition they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment and making progress towards political pluralism. U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai met virtually with Ethiopia's Chief...

27 August 2021 | Ayenat Mersie | Dawit Endeshaw

US increases sugar import quota by 90,100 tonnes

The United States government on Wednesday said it was increasing its lower-tariff sugar import quota for fiscal year 2021 by 90,100 tonnes (raw value) as it tries to increase short-term supplies in the domestic market. The U.S. Trade Representative also said it would allow this additional volume to enter the country up to Oct. 31, a month later than usual. The U.S. fiscal year ends at the end of September. With the additional of the so-called TRQ quota, the total volume entering the U.S. at lower tariff will go to 1.2 million tonnes, more...

25 August 2021

Namibia: American delegation looks for renewable energy opportunities

President Hage Geingob on Friday hosted a delegation from the United States of America at State House. A delegation of businesspeople, accompanied by lawmakers from several states, was in Namibia to look out for opportunities, particularly in the renewable energy industry. Before the closed-door meeting, Geingob said Namibia is a peaceful country that has gone through peaceful transitions of power. He informed the delegation that Namibia has in recent years experienced a serious economic downturn, as well as a severe prolonged drought,...

24 August 2021 | Loide Jason

'Rich countries want to strike trade deals in Africa'

“We will be the guinea pig,” said Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, before trade talks with America opened last year. A deal would make Kenya only the second African country after Morocco to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States. Officials in the Trump administration called the proposed deal “a model” for future ones. But such bilateral talks jar with Africa’s push for regional integration and with President Joe Biden’s emphasis on multilateralism. Negotiations are now on hold while America works out what to do...

21 August 2021

'US pressured over delayed promise to Kenya' in letter sent to USTR Tai

US President Joe Biden has come under pressure to fulfil the American government promise of achieving a Free Trade Agree (FTA) with Kenya.  Seven Republican Senators want the negotiations for an FTA deal between the US and Kenya hastened to pave way for business and investment.  In a letter written to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the Senators asked for the process to be given priority after delaying for close to two years.  Led by Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the lawmakers stated that the deal would...

20 August 2021

'We examined 20 years of US-Kenya trade: Some lessons for Africa'

Kenya is one of the top five beneficiaries of the US-Africa trade initiative, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It also had the second-highest utilisation rate in 2018 with over 70% of its US exports covered by the programme. Launched in 2000, the trade pact gives sub-Saharan Africa the most liberal access to the huge US market available to any country or region with which Washington does not have a free trade agreement. The initiative has had a significant impact on stimulating Africa-US...

16 August 2021 | Francis Owusu and Kefa M. Otiso

US and South Africa's Western Cape province mark 6 month anniversary of trade and investment promotion partnership

The U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town and the Western Cape Government marked the first six months of the Trade and Investment Promotion Partnership, launched in February 2021. The partnership deepens bilateral cooperation and coordination to promote and increase bilateral trade and investment through various engagements, events, and high-level interactions. It reflects the United States’ role as the top foreign direct investor in the Western Cape and supports two-way annual trade valued at approximately 16 billion Rand. During the...

11 August 2021 | Press release

Namibia: Local exporters urged to take continental market route as companies shine at exporter awards

Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu said a number of export markets have been secured for Namibian exporters, including in Africa, and encouraged all local producers to seize opportunities of continental access.  Iipumbu made these remarks when she officiated at the first Namibia Annual Exporter Awards last week. The awards were held in collaboration between the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) and Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA). “Hence, the call is now upon you,...

09 August 2021 | Maihapa Ndjavera

'Funding challenges undermine SMEs’ growth in Africa'

Analysts who spoke at a recent webinar organised by the American Business Council in Nigeria, in collaboration with US Chamber of Commerce, Amcham Ghana and Amcham South Africa on the US-Africa relations, have identified lack of adequate funding as a major challenge to the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. The analysts were of the view that SMEs across Africa are faced with serious funding challenges, despite their importance to national development. Citing the case of Nigeria, the analysts said: “Despite the...

30 July 2021 | Emma Okonji

USAID Administrator Samantha Power on financing new pathways to a stronger US-Africa economic partnership

Good morning everyone, it’s an honor to be here with you today at this year’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit. I want to offer a special thanks to Florie Liser and the Corporate Council on Africa for convening this important event. This year, USAID, the Agency that I have the privilege of running, turns 60. And for those 60 years, the U.S.’ relationship with the continent of Africa has largely been the same. It is a relationship rooted in foreign assistance—in the U.S. working with partner countries to develop their institutions, and...

29 July 2021 | USAID Speeches

Biden Administration launches initiative to build US-Africa trade

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new push to expand business ties between U.S. companies and Africa, with a focus on clean energy, health, agribusiness and transportation infrastructure on the continent. U.S. industry executives welcomed the interest, but said dollar flows will lag until the administration wraps up its lengthy review of Trump administration trade measures and sets a clear policy on investments in liquefied natural gas. Dana Banks, senior director for Africa at the White House National Security Council, told...

28 July 2021 | Doyinsola Oladipo | Andrea Shalal

Tanzania strategises to up trade through AGOA

Tanzania has expressed its commitment to pulling up its socks in undertaking a number of measures in an effort to boost export to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). As envisioned in the National Agoa Strategy 2016, the measures according to the Industry and Trade Ministry, include: cutting operational costs to spar production, building a Tanzania-US traders network and improving business environment through the blueprint which sets a stage for a raft of amendments to policy and regulatory reforms. The list also...

27 July 2021 | Alex Nelson Malanga

US trade chief plans summit to discuss Africa duty-free access

The U.S.’s trade chief plans to convene a meeting with African ministers before the end of the year to strengthen partnerships and discuss a law that provides duty-free access to the U.S. for thousands of goods from sub-Saharan nations. “It is important that we meet despite the pandemic to discuss how we can build on the successes of the African Growth and Opportunity Act,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit Tuesday. She...

27 July 2021 | Ana Monteiro and Prinesha Naidoo

Biden’s fast-track Trade Authority (TPA) is set to expire this week

President Joe Biden is about to lose one of his main tools for getting trade agreements passed in Congress, dimming the outlook for deals already in the works with the U.K. and Kenya [See trade data below this article]. Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, fast-track negotiating ability delegated to the U.S. president by Congress, is set to expire on Thursday. [See a FAQ guide here] That power, which was granted under the Trade Act of 1974, has typically been renewed when Biden’s predecessors wanted to pursue specific pacts. Biden...

29 June 2021 | Eric Martin

Charting a new course in US-Africa relations: The importance of learning from others’ mistakes

This is an exciting time for Africa. In early January 2021, the first shipments traded under Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) preferences left Ghana bound for Guinea and South Africa. Since its signing in March 2018, the rapid implementation of the agreement raises hopes of a more inclusive and prosperous future for the continent. How global trading partners support this project could set the tone of relationships for decades to come. NEW TIMES REQUIRE A FRESH APPROACH… The Biden administration is applying a healthy dose of...

22 June 2021 | Liz May and Andrew Mold

CCA 2021 business summit: 'New pathways to a stronger US-Africa economic partnership'

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) will hold this year's 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit virtually to build sustainable partnerships and opportunities between key government and private sector decision-makers across America and the African continent. With participation from over 1,000 U.S. and African business executives and government leaders, this year's CCA Summit will give your organization a seat at the table in building new pathways to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa.  The multi-day...

17 June 2021

Botswana: Government acts as AGOA exports hit zero

Government is hoping its newly revitalised strategy for the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) reaps dividends after revelations that exports by local companies under the trade deal have been at zero since 2019 end. AGOA is a trade arrangement between the US and sub-Saharan African countries, including Botswana, which runs till 2025 and provides relaxed access to the American market. From a peak of P1.8 billion in AGOA exports by local firms in 2008, the figures have been plummeting over the years as key exporting sectors such as...

04 June 2021 | Mbongeni Mguni

“Trade, not aid”: America’s relationships with Africa matter [incl. Video]

“Trade, not aid.” Two key speakers promoted that slogan at a recent roundtable event hosted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in honor of Africa Day, commemorating the launch of the Organization of African Unity. Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, global health and global human rights, stressed that, moving forward, U.S. policy toward Africa should be more about trade and investment, less about aid. “We will need to be aligned—like a lot of other countries...

02 June 2021 | Anthony Kim and Terry Miller

Opinion - 'President Biden needs to 'Build Back Better' on Africa'

In his first major foreign policy address, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared the key priority of the Biden agenda—"a more stable, inclusive global economy" that "delivers security and opportunity for as many Americans as possible in the long term." In an irreversibly interdependent world, Africa is central to achieving this vision. Over the past decade, Africa has accounted for a third of world population growth and is now home to 15 percent of the global workforce—this will likely rise to a quarter by...

25 May 2021 | ROSA WHITAKER

Uganda's Museveni to investors: Exploit Africa’s untapped investment potential

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has told a group of African-American investors who are in the country to explore investment opportunities that investing in Uganda is a ‘sure deal’ to the success of their projects because of the prevailing excellent investment environment in the country. The 16 member team was led by Senegalese-American celebrity and businessman Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam alias Akon who met the President earlier in the week before leaving his wife Rozina Negusei with the delegation which has been in the country...

18 May 2021