TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US Foundation to participate in AGOA Forum

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Source: My Joy Online (Ghana)

The US African Development Foundation is participating in the AGOA Forum in Accra next week as part of a concerted effort to increase its visibility and promote its development model.

It focuses on investing in African small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

USADF is an independent public corporation founded in 1980 by the US Congress with a mandate to reduce poverty in Africa. USADF fills a unique niche in the spectrum of federally funded development agencies.

A statement issued in Accra on Wednesday said instead of top down, state-driven policy initiatives, USADF pursued a comprehensive, bottom-up, capacity- building strategy centered upon African entrepreneurs.

It said in its 27 years USADF had invested in more than 1,700 businesses and community-based organizations.

“Currently, USADF manages a portfolio of 240 investments that have helped establish thousands of new enterprises and created more than 110,000 jobs - more than 45% of which employ women.”

The statement said USADF recognised that only Africans could sustainably develop Africa.

Rod MacAlister, President of USADF said: “We invest in African’s own ideas. USADF helps Africans beat their own poverty. We don’t just teach Africans ‘how to fish,’ we help African entrepreneurs own a fleet of boats and market their production.”

It said through investments in SMEs, USADF encouraged individual risk, ownership and profit incentives that were the primary drivers of private sector growth.

“USADF is highlighted in the original African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000 (AGOA) because its authors recognized that market access, in and of itself, would not reduce poverty in Africa without a simultaneous investment in African SMEs.

“USADF complements the primary market access goals of AGOA by making targeted investments in the dreams of individual African entrepreneurs, thereby building capacity for trade in local and regional markets and in export businesses.”