TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US sees hope for Africa in AGOA

Wednesday, 01 June 2011

Source: Zambia Post

The AGOA Forum that will be held in Lusaka next week will provide policymakers and business leaders an ideal opportunity to join forces and plan for the economic revolution in Africa, says US Ambassador to Namibia Wanda Nesbitt.

Commenting on next Monday’s African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum that Zambia, Ambassador Nesbitt yesterday said the United States was ready to support African countries develop their economies through increased regional and international trade.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, assistant secretary of state for the bureau of African affairs Johnnie Carson and US trade representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and other senior officials from the American government are scheduled to attend the 10th AGOA forum which is themed ‘enhanced trade through increased competitiveness, value addition and deep regional integration’.

Nesbitt said after more than 10 years, AGOA remained the centrepiece of America’s trade and investment cooperation with Africa.

She said it was disappointing that Namibia and other African countries had not yet capitalised on the trade preferences available.

“The annual AGOA Forum is an excellent opportunity for government officials and private business operators to interact with their US counterparts,” Nesbitt said.

“In addition to the African government delegations, this year in Lusaka, we anticipate a strong showing from the US and African private sector as well as representatives from civil society organisations.

The forum provides a unique opportunity for government officials, international business people and civil society representatives to build relationships that lead to business deals.”

She said increased trade will equal greater prosperity for African countries and that the continent has changed significantly since the Congress passed the original AGOA legislation.

Nesbitt said private forecasts indicated that African economies will grow at seven per cent per year over the next 20 years, making sub-Saharan Africa the fastest growing region in the world after Asia.

“Business publications and consulting companies frequently identify Africa as the new investment frontier,” said Nesbitt. “At the same time, AGOA is more than just a trade preference program; in fact, it provides the US government and our African partners a platform to discuss key economic, commercial, and political issues.

AGOA helps both African and US businesses create jobs.”