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Zimbabwe: Ready for AGOA?

Published date:
Thursday, 25 March 2004

United States ambassador to Zambia Martin Brennan says Zambia's export earnings under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) would rise significantly once the process of horticultural pest risk assessments is completed.

ZambiaMr Brennan said the rapid growth of the AGOA exports in the recent past indicated the scale of the opportunities the legislation had created for Zambia.

The ambassador was speaking in Lusaka yesterday at the opening of the Zambia handicrafts market sixth seminar organised under the auspices of the Southern Africa Global Competitive Hub.

Mr Brennan said African states had scored success in building markets in line with the whole idea behind AGOA which was that "building market makes life better for all of us."

He said in 2002, total trade between the United states and Sub-Saharan Africa was nearly US$24 billion of which US$18 billion was USA imports from Africa.

The ambassador said through AGOA, small countries that traditionally did not trade with the United States in the past had become successful exporters into the US market among them Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland which have doubled their AGOA exports between 2001 and 2003.

But Mr Brennan said while AGOA now covered more than half of Africa's exports to America, less than five per cent of Zambia's 2003 exports to this market benefited from AGOA.

"Given the entrepreneurial spirit in Zambia today I expect that Zambia's exports will reach several millions of dollars in the near future, in particular, once the process of horticultural pest risk assessment is completed," Mr Brennan said.

He said the challenge for Africa was for more work to be done to enable AGOA eligible countries to take full advantage of the benefits in textiles and handicrafts.

Mr Brennan said Zambia had obtained approval for both categories and the US was ready to help both the Government and the local business community to identify products that fell into these categories and the requirements for exporting the products.

And Export Board of Zambia (EBZ) executive director Glyne Michelo said contribution by the handicraft sector had always remained small though it had grown from US$18,000 in 1988 to about US$380,000 in 2002.

Mr Michelo said this minimal growth could be attributed to limited assistance to the sector by the EBZ for promotion activities in target markets.

Other major constraints relate to high freight costs to main markets of the US and Europe, low prices for generic crafts and low production levels since crafts production are considered part time activities.

Mr Michelo said the opening up of international trade like the AGOA and the Everything But Arms (EBAs) under the European Union had created greater opportunities for the exploitation of the US and EU markets, given a strong domestic production base for crafts.

He appealed to the US to assist in leveraging other donors' assistance in supporting the envisaged action initiative in the handicrafts sector in Zambia.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data on

Click here to view a sector profile of Zambia’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include:

  • AGOA-beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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