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AGOA must be revitalised, says African cotton body

Published date:
Monday, 30 May 2011

The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act must be revitalised to remain viable, says the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation.

In a paper submitted for next week’s AGOA Forum that will be held in Lusaka, the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) stated that the Act needs to be reformed for mutual benefits.

ACTIF’s membership represents the entire cotton-textile-apparel value chain from across Africa consisting of cotton farmers, ginners, spinners, fabric manufacturers and garment producers.

The Federation said ACTIF’s members have the most to gain from the continued success of AGOA, and the most to lose if it was allowed to collapse.

“AGOA has been hugely successful during its first five years (2000-2004), it had a transformative effect on Africa.

This can be seen most clearly in the textile and apparel sector, where an estimated 300,000 new direct jobs and perhaps twice that number of indirect jobs in support sectors were created as a new industry was developed across Africa, including in Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia,” the ACTIF stated.

“US apparel imports from Africa more than doubled between 2000 and 2004.

The lives of an estimated 5-10 million Africans were improved by AGOA as it helped build the regional value chain as well.

All of these accomplishments were at essentially zero cost to the US government, as the private sector responded to the incentives created by AGOA to invest and create new direct and indirect jobs.”

The Federation claims that AGOA’s success began to fade with the expiration of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) system of quotas on January 1, 2005, pursuant to the Uruguay Round agreement on Textiles and Clothing.

“Literally scores of mostly Chinese-owned apparel factories (one of them being Zambia-China Mulungushi textiles) closed across Africa, and were reopened in China, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam.

There was a wholesale transfer of more than 100,000 apparel jobs from Africa to Asia,” the ACTIF claimed. “By 2009, US apparel imports from Africa had fallen by nearly half (-48 per cent), while at the same time apparel imports from Asia had skyrocketed.

While China by itself accounted for the lion’s share of the job losses in the African textile and apparel sector, three other Asian apparel producers also enjoyed tremendous growth at the expense of Africa.”

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You are here: Home/News/Article/AGOA must be revitalised, says African cotton body