TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

MCC, AGOA : two powerful US cooperation levers in Africa

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Source: Walta Information Center (Ethiopia)

Over the past decade, the United States of America has been seeking to redefine its support and establishment terms in Africa, for economic and geostrategic concerns, with the year 2009 being marked by the strengthening of the opportunities offered to African countries by two US cooperation instruments, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The AGOA, the law on growth and markets in Africa, was officially signed in May 2000 to encourage African countries to develop markets based on international trade standards and opportunities.

Created under President Bill Clinton, 34 African countries were designated eligible for the opportunities offered by AGOA. The eligibility of these African countries was based largely on good governance and democracy performance criteria.

AGOA offers eligibility opportunities by country and by product to enter the US market. Currently only nine Sub-Saharan African countries are yet to be eligible under the AGOA criteria.

On the other hand, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is an independent agency established in January 2004 by the US Congress to give American aid a new posture.

It is also about providing effective financial support to poorest countries that want to embark on the path of good governance. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an assistance programme on specific sectors for five years or short-term programmes.

The US millennium programme provides flexibility for countries that apply. These have carte blanche criteria to indicate the sectors they consider priorities in areas as diverse as agriculture, irrigation, transport, access to water or education.

Currently, 20 African countries have become eligible for the US Millennium Challenge programme. (APA)