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AGOA Lights a Fire Under Africa's Exports

Published date:
Tuesday, 24 May 2005
Business Day

Exports from the 37 African countries eligible for duty-free exports to the US under that country's African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) jumped 88% to $26,6bn last year over 2003, says the latest Agoa annual report, submitted to the US congress by US President George Bush yesterday.

US exports to sub-Saharan Africa rose a quarter to $8,6bn, according to the report released by the US Bureau of International Information Programmes.

The figures support the widely held view in the US and Africa that the five-year old Agoa initiative has been successful in stimulating trade between the two regions.

The initiative has already been extended, and a study is under way into expanding it to include a wider range of countries and products. The study will be completed in July.

The bulk of the increase in sub-Saharan exports came from oil, although non-oil exports also rose a solid 22% to $3,5bn.

Oil-producing nations recorded the largest increases. Nigeria's exports under Agoa grew 56%, Gabon's 25% and exports from Republic of Congo almost doubled.

A 29% rise in South African exports under the act also came mainly from commodities, such as platinum, diamonds and ferroalloys. The report says exports of vehicles and parts from SA to the US continued to increase.

More than 98% of US imports from Agoa-beneficiary countries entered duty-free, says the report.

The benefits that exporters in SA and its customs union partners enjoy under Agoa at the moment are expected to be locked in and expanded on under a free trade agreement that both regions had hoped to seal in December last year.

Talks stalled around the middle of last year, however, and have not yet been resuscitated.

The US report yesterday blamed "capacity constraints" in the Southern African Customs Union - comprising SA, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland - as well as divergent views for the slower-than-expected progress.

Negotiations are expected to resume "later in 2005".

The Agoa report says foreign direct investment from the US into sub-Saharan Africa was estimated to have increased to $10,6bn in 2003 from $8,9bn in 2002.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of South Africa’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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