TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Senegal: New Gateway For Trade Opens In Dakar

Tuesday, 08 November 2005

Source: United States Agency for International Development

Today, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Lloyd O. Pierson inaugurated a West Africa Trade Hub in Dakar, Senegal.

The Dakar hub is designed to promote improvements in Africa's trade capacity, boost international exports and help businesses take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - a law that provides trade preferences to countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms.

This latest opening brings the total of USAID-funded hubs for global competitiveness (Trade Hubs) to four. Three are located in Botswana, Kenya and Ghana. The newest Trade Hub in Dakar, Senegal -- the second hub in West Africa region -- will join forces with its neighboring Trade Hub in Ghana to help West African economies increase their share of trade with the world. With the two Trade Hubs now operating in West Africa, the U.S. can look forward to increasing activities for and in central Africa, particularly Chad and Cameroon, through the Accra based Trade Hub. For example, as one element of expanded coverage, the Accra based Trade Hub will convene a regional AGOA export diversification workshop in the central African region in 2006.

"The United States continues to demonstrate worldwide leadership in expanding trade with Africa through the African Growth and Opportunity Act," Pierson said. "The new Trade Hub in Dakar is a gateway to the global marketplace, as well as a bridge to jobs and personal opportunity. With the rebounding of the global economy and the continued growth of responsible and representative governments, much of Africa is poised to see more robust economic growth in the years ahead."

Located in the Mamelles District, the Dakar Trade Hub will include work in the fish and seafood sector, and will immediately start preparing West African fish and seafood exporters to exhibit in the 2006 International Boston Seafood Show. The Hub will also identify other sectors within those countries closest to it, including Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Strategically, the Dakar Trade Hub builds upon and expands the work already underway in the Accra, Ghana Trade Hub to improve regional trade capacity and policies, provide information and training to AGOA Resource Centers in 15 countries, and help national governments and the private sector comply with AGOA visa and certification requirements.

Under AGOA, eligible countries can export almost any product to the U.S. duty-free - nearly 6,500 products from apparel to automobiles to footwear. AGOA also provides a framework for technical assistance to help countries take advantage of the trade preferences.

The opening of the Dakar Trade Hub was first announced by President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during Senegal's AGOA Forum in July 2005. President Bush launched the Trade for Africa Development and Enterprise (TRADE) Initiative in October 2001. As part of the TRADE Initiative, USAID opened the three existing Trade Hubs in Botswana, Kenya and Ghana.

This year, the West Africa Trade Hub in Ghana generated more than $1 million in new exports to the U.S., with another $9 million of exports pending.