TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US commits $120mil towards USAID African Trade Hubs

Friday, 10 June 2011

Source: Daily Mail (Zambia)

The United States has announced that it will provide up to US$120 million over four years to intensify and focus more on the work of the USAID-run African Trade Hubs.

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in Lusaka yesterday that AGOA is proof of Africa’s strategic importance to the United States.

“I am pleased to announce that the United States will support a new trade capacity building initiative, the African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative.

“I can assure you that trade and investment are critical elements of President Obama’s global development policy,” he said.

He said by facilitating trade which supports jobs, AGOA improves individual lives and stimulates development from the bottom up, in a way that can lead to greater economic growth for entire countries.

“That’s why Congress passed AGOA, and that is why the Obama administration is committed to make it work even better. The United States is committed to promoting Africa’s economic growth through trade and AGOA is a critical pillar in growing the US economic relationship with sub-Saharan nations,” he said.

Mr Kirk said since its launch in 2000, AGOA has provided opportunities for real people and businesses and contributed to the growth of African economies through expanded and diversified trade.

He said last year, non-oil imports under AGOA totalled US$4 billion, up 18 per cent from 2009, and included value-added products such as apparel, footwear, processed agricultural products and manufactured goods.

“We also recognise that AGOA can do more, that’s why the Obama administration will work with the US Congress over the coming months to extend one of AGOA’s most important provisions-the third country fabric provision. We would like to see it extended to 2015,” he said.

Mr Kirk said AGOA textiles and apparel have created new opportunities for investment and trade which benefit businesses and consumers in both the United States and Africa.

He said this sector remains an important foundation for Africa’s growing industrial base.

He said it is important for the US, African governments, farmers and businesses to work closely to make AGOA better.

“Over the past eleven years, we have learned that AGOA is most effective when Africans interested in exporting are also able to receive technical assistance and other support through trade capacity building programmes,” he said.

And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati said it is important for AGOA countries to take a new approach to trade and investment and forget about what has not worked in the past.

“Let’s make things work. Opportunities will come from the decisions we make. Progress in Africa will only be registered when we work together,” he said.

Mr Mutati called on the President of the United States Barack Obama to dedicate resources to make an impact on African countries.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the Manto Investment Group have signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a shopping mall in Ndola at a cost of between US$20 million and US$30 million.

ZDA Director General Andrew Chipwende signed the agreement with Manto Investment Group chairman and chief executive officer Michael Nhlengethwa.

The shopping mall will be constructed near the stadium which is currently under construction.




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