Sierra Leone: Take Advantage of AGOA
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Kadie Sesay has said in Freetown that the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH), a USAID Africa trade development project based in Accra, Ghana and Dakarr Senegal, is made up of experts who help countries and businesses to take advantage of the US Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).
She was speaking at the end of a three-day national workshop on Sanitary and Photo-sanitary (SPS) Regional Harmonization, which was held at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building.
The workshop was organized by Standard Bureau of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and attracted stakeholders from the trade, health and agriculture sectors. The Minister described the workshop as important to Sierra Leone's status report on sanitary and photo sanitary harmonization including food safety, which she said is part of ECOWAS Regional International Process.
Listening to the Trade minister, she advanced that WATH also supports efforts to make trade system more efficient.
She informed participants at the workshop that 600 products are qualified to be exported to the United States from Africa but few have access to penetrate the US market.
Dr. Kadie Sesay said Sierra Leone is qualified to export garments and other textile products to the US but not a single order has been made. She expressed urgent need to identify barriers that impede export and to raise the quality of our products like coffee and cocoa to attract the international market.
One of the workshop's facilitators and consultant on trade policy and governance in West Africa, Mr. Hub Kofi Humando said his organization works in twenty-one countries across West Africa and specializes in technical assistance and training to business.
Mr. Humado said WATH also connects people to information resources and coordinates multilateral projects to increase trade.
The WATH consultant added that his organization sponsors selected businesses to participate in US trade shows and provides preparatory training and in-depth technical assistance. He said ECOWAS countries have great potential for trade in agriculture products, but exports are limited due to high risk of exporting diseases, ending by calling on regional harmonization to address poor trade negotiations.
Another resource person and consultant of SPS based in Dakar, Senegal Tidane Trade said the SPS agreement formed part of the 1994 Accords that established the World Trade Organization, which replace the General Agreement on Tariffs AND Trade (GATT) Regulations.