TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US AGOA Backers Press for Three-Year Extension

Friday, 23 April 2004

Source: Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Businessmen from West and Central Africa yesterday met in Yaounde to brainstorm on ways and means of stepping up action towards the implementation of the American law on trade between Africa and the United States. Organised by the AGOA.

Training Center Africa (ATCA), the workshop is a veritable instrument of networking in order to better make use of the opportunities offered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) voted into law by the American Congress in 2000. Participants worked on an empirical theme, "AGOA in West Africa: Achievements, Challenges and Perspectives". The choice of West Africa, as explained by the Regional Director of ATCA, Brigitte Soppo, was not by chance. Businesses in the sub-region have, as a matter of fact, penetrated the AGOA process and have much to share with their counterparts in the Central African sub-region.

Mrs Soppo explained to "Cameroon Tribune" that his department could not go without exploiting such an opportunity. "We invited stakeholders from West Africa, specifically, Benin, Senegal and Ghana, who have more experiences to share with us", she said, adding that West African countries are good in networking and that is why they are well known already within the AGOA process.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industrial and Commercial Development, Simon Pierre Essomba, expressed the satisfaction of his ministry in organising the workshop. He said such meetings were quite essential in informing and educating economic actors on the new American market. But Mr Essomba was not happy about the performance of Cameroonian businessmen whom he described as having failed to use the opportunity presented to them by AGOA.