- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
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AGOA: Namibia's Lifeline

Published date:
Thursday, 21 October 2004

Reports that Botswana is not fully utilising the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) make sad reading. Botswana is one country that should have taken full advantage of this economic instrument from America. This is because AGOA is a deliberate trade preferential arrangement by the United States to allow countries that practice good governance and democracy to penetrate the American markets.

Botswana is said to be one of Africa's longest democratic projects and a model of good governance and economic success - the factors that made countries eligible for AGOA. While Botswana has succeeded in democratic governance and economic management, the country is lagging behind in international trade. AGOA should definitely be used as an opportunity to diversify Botswana's exports from beef and diamonds but the country seems to have failed to rise to the occasion.

It is time for the government and the private sector to seriously reflect on what makes it difficult for Botswana to fully exploit opportunities offered by AGOA. The two sides should work together to make sure that the country gets its fair share of benefits from AGOA. While exploiting the textile opportunities offered by AGOA might be difficult for Botswana, it is a puzzle why the country cannot find a niche in the leather industry. Botswana is world famous for its cattle industry and this means that the by-products to propel a competitive local leather industry should be abundant.

The country needs to realise that AGOA opportunities are a dividend for its sound record for democracy and good governance. As such, Botswana should be at the forefront in embracing and making use of the opportunities that come through AGOA. Government may have to create a special fund that will specifically deal with tapping AGOA opportunities as part of the economic diversification process. The success of the venture will obviously result in higher export earnings, job creation and economic growth. Botswana must therefore pull up its socks and find ways to fully exploit the benefits offered by AGOA.

While AGOA might not be the panacea to Africa's highly disadvantaged status in international trade, it offers opportunities that if exploited could help spur economic growth on the continent. Batswana, who should be in a better position to exploit the dispensation, will only have themselves to blame if they fail to rise to the occasion.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Botswana’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: (click each link to view)

  • 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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