TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

'Take advantage of AGOA' says Zambia's minister of tradeSichinga

Friday, 13 January 2012

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Zambia's Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Bob Sichinga has observed that Zambia has not taken full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) facility.

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Mr Sichinga said the problem is that Zambia has little to export to the US market, unlike other African countries.

“We need to create opportunities and capacity, by producing more goods for export to the US market,’’Mr Sichinga said.

He says it is important to promote the exportation of traditional goods such as sugar, beans, cashew nuts, pineapple, honey and sweet potatoes to improve Zambia’s economic clusters.

Mr Sichinga has also recommended change in the syllabus and curriculum in learning institutions, which offer agricultural related courses like the Natural Resources Development College in Lusaka.

He said it is important for the Zambian export market to improve by moving from only growing goods to classic packaging for export.

“We need to train people and give them skills. As government, we also want Zambians to access finances to enable them to run their businesses effectively,’’ he said.

He said while Zambia managed to successfully host the AGOA forum last year, it is important for the country to pull up its socks even as it hands over the AGOA chairmanship to Ethiopia.

Mr Sichinga said AGOA has a lot of benefits which would no doubt benefit Zambia economically, especially that there is no duty limitation on goods to be exported.

He said apart from the establishment of the PAN African centre for AGOA, the government has worked out numerous methods with a view to helping Zambia get maximum benefits from existing AGOA facilities.

Last June, Zambia hosted the AGOA forum under the theme: “Enhanced trade through increased competitiveness, value addition and deeper regional integration.’’

The AGOA forum was formed 10 years ago when government officials, business leaders and civil society organisations from African countries convened to promote trade and business investment opportunities.

AGOA is the centrepiece of the United States government’s trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa.

During the Lusaka AGOA forum, the US government pledged $2 million support towards the women entrepreneurship programme (African Women Entrepreneurship Programme).

The African continent has quadrupled its export earning to the US under AGOA, from $1 billion to $4 billion in the past decade and consumer spending is expected to grow by almost $600 million and GDP by $1 trillion in less than 10 years, according to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who attended the forum.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of Zambia's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info 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.