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Growth opportunity is not well utilised in Nigeria

Published date:
Tuesday, 08 September 2009

International trade experts have decried the fact of Nigeria not taking full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is meant to increase non-oil exports from the continent to the United States of America.

Despite the increase recorded in Nigeria's non-oil export to the US in 2008, there are still concerns that Nigeria is not making good use of the AGOA initiative.

A specialist in international trade and logistics, Obiora Madu, said Nigerians are not effectively tapping into the opportunity given to them by the US to export products outside oil to the world's largest economy.

"Nigeria now exports crude oil under the AGOA scheme instead of the initial purposes for which it was created. Nigeria can earn more with the exportation of items listed under AGOA initiatives, as there is a large and ready-made market for the items. Instead, Nigerians prefer to keep on importing most of the things we can produce in the country," said Mr. Madu.

Figures available to NEXT indicate that there was an increase in both the import and export trading in 2008 as compared to 2007.

A senior commercial specialist at the US embassy, Anayo Agu, said though Nigeria is the largest trading partner of the United States in sub-Saharan Africa, most of the trading are done in importation rather than exportation.

"It is sad that Nigerians are not making use of the AGOA initiative and the embassy keeps campaigning and training Nigerians on taking up AGOA to increase employment and empower people in the country," he added.

At the eighth AGOA forum in Nairobi, Kenya last month, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said African countries should diversify the products they sell to the American market if they are to take advantage of the initiative.

"This should be done by enhancing the competitiveness by adding value to the products, as this is the only way they can reap maximum benefits," she said.

The AGOA Act was signed in 2000 to encourage trade relationship between the United States and 41 African countries.

The contract allows the eligible African countries to export up to 6,400 products and it is to expire in 2015. Statistics from the US international trade commission indicates that in nearly about a decade after the launch of the initiative, the countries involved have exported less than 50 per cent of the quota.

Nigeria is one of the top three exporting countries to the US, with a trade volume of 22.2 per cent for last year.

Mr. Madu said Nigeria can do better in non-oil export trade if the government is serious about encouraging that sector, instead of exporting more crude oil which makes up about 95 per cent of the trading activities under the scheme.

"The government is not serious about encouraging people to invest more in the trading of non-oil products. The economic infrastructure to assist them is not available."

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Nigeria'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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