TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Zambia: Government seeks help in formulating effective AGOA strategy

Friday, 16 August 2013 Published: | Kabanda Chulu

Source: The Post (Zambia)

Zambia has requested UNECA and the African Development Bank to provide technical assistance in formulating an effective AGOA strategy aimed at maximizing benefits from US trade facility.

Commerce minister Emmanuel Chenda said at the just ended 12th Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) forum held in Ethiopia that there was need to address the impediments that had made it difficult for the country to maximize its benefits from AGOA during the past 13 years.

"The Zambian government in collaboration with various stakeholders will soon formulate an AGOA strategy which will help the country to map out most effective mechanisms to increase trade with the United States," he said in a statement released by first secretary for Press at the Zambian mission in Ethiopia, Dorcas Chileshe.

"We shall request UNECA United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the AfDB to provide technical assistance in formulating an effective AGOA strategy." He said the government would collaborate more with small scale industries to identify specific products that could increase exports to the US. "There is also need for the US to increase its investment in Africa which currently is as low as one percent.

The US should also increase its investment in Africa, and the continent will benefit from the advanced technology which will help to improve the quality of goods and in turn increase exports," said Chenda. And Zambian entrepreneur Silvia Banda said Africa should speak with one voice to lobby that AGOA gets extended for another 15 years.

Addressing a business meeting for women on the sidelines of the AGOA forum, Banda described AGOA as an instrument that had helped African women to realize their dream of selling their products to the USA. "Under AGOA, African women entrepreneurs are able to transport their products to the US duty free. If AGOA ends in 2015, most women will not manage to export their products," said Banda.

"Africa has a lot of women entrepreneurs who can attain economic empowerment if AGOA is extended for another 15 years. We also appeal to African governments to connect women entrepreneurs within Africa so that their products can find market within the continent." The 2013 AGOA Forum themed "Sustainable transformation through trade and technology" attracted over 1,000 delegates from the US and 39 eligible AGOA African countries.

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