TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Trade Ministry Holds Three-Day Seminar On AGOA

Sunday, 02 December 2001

Source: Standard Times (Freetown)

But for the sake of social, economic and commercial development in post-war Sierra Leone, frantic efforts and strategies coupled with solid mechanisms are beginning to indicate the demise of the era of abject poverty and commercial backwardness.

Owing to the fact that this trend of things are the very fabric for our present predicament, vital state institutions together with United Nations agencies among others have taken practical steps to turn the negative situation round.

In a crystal and innovative determination to champion the cause of trade and commercial development, the Ministry of Trade and Industry last Thursday April 3, 2003 organized a three-day seminar on African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ratified by the Untied States government in 2000 geared towards opening direct African trade links with the United States.

The workshop which was held at the Atlantic Hall, Brookfield attracted participants from around the country from several institutions and agricultural organizations.

Delivering his keynote address, the deputy Minister of Finance, J.D. Rogers said AGOA is an initiative developed by America to ensure that the world's resources are equitably distributed globally.

The aims, Mr. Rogers intimated is to ensure sustainable development, especially in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of trade and commerce.

According to him, it seeks to instill discipline in the way African countries carry out its commercial activities.

He said the seminar is very much needed and will also enable the people of this country know the opportunities AGOA has for Sierra Leone.

He further stated the eligibility criteria for AGOA membership as geared towards ensuring a democratic environment and human rights. For his part, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Kadie Sesay told the gathering that the decade long civil war destroyed all facets of our development.

Dr. Kadie Sesay noted that small scale industries like soap making, gara tie dying and agriculture stands to benefit hugely from AGOA.

She reiterated government's efforts towards ensuring a better condition of living for every Sierra Leonean.

According to her, cabinet has approved the investment promotion act which will soon be sent to parliament for subsequent ratification.

She stated that AGOA opens new horizons for Sierra Leone, and expressed profound gratitude to the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for their continued support for development programmes in the country.

Furthermore, the American Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Peter Chevens said Sierra Leone has no desire to permanently depend on foreign aid, and that she must begin to create the necessary conditions.

He also thanked the President, Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his government for their robust steps towards curbing corruption and assured his government's support out at all times.