TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

South Africa 'to sway US on Africa development'

Friday, 01 August 2014

Source: (South Africa)


South Africa on Friday said continued support for Africa’s development and funding for HIV prevention programmes should dominate discussions in America next week, as the continent's leaders will participate in the first US-Africa Leaders' Summit to be hosted by Barack Obama in Washington.

President Jacob Zuma will leave for Washington DC on Friday to join 47 other African Heads of State and Government, who have been invited to attend the summit on 5 August.

The White House said the summit will also build on the progress made since the President's trip to Africa last year, advance the administration's focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America's commitment to Africa's security, its democratic development, and its people.

Pretoria says it’s going to the meeting to establish "win-win partnerships", which would help build the country's skills base, transfer technology and create decent jobs, among other things.

"We consider our bilateral relationship with the US as one such win-win partnership. Over the years, this partnership has been rapidly growing towards what we can regard as a strategic relationship," International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters in Pretoria on Friday.

She said the Obama administration had expressed willingness to partner with South Africa and to support Africa-led initiatives to curb poverty and underdevelopment.

"South Africa has impressed upon the United States the fact that successful economies have done so on the back of industrialisation".

South Africa’s economy needed to industrialise in order for the country to achieve the goals set in the National Development Plan.

"The summit in Washington should therefore focus on trade and investment, promotion of Africa’s development, peace and security as well as good governance," Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

But top of the agenda for many African leaders, including South Africa, will no doubt be the renewal of the Africa Growth and opportunities Act (AGOA) for another 15 years.  

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the renewal of AGOA for another 10 to 15 years would provide African with the "necessary stability, predictability and market access", which she said is crucial for the continent’s businesses.

Congress is scheduled to make a decision on the renewal of AGOA and there have been talks of removing South Africa from the programme with the country’s economic progress cited as the reason.

AGOA is a legislation that provides duty-free market access to the United States for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4600 products. It also provides duty-free access to all clothing (as well as certain textile) exports from countries that qualify.

Through AGOA, South Africa has reportedly exported significant quantities of manufactured goods - most notably about 60 000 automobiles a year.

Earlier this week, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said South Africa will be putting its case forward not to be excluded from a possible new AGOA term. "We don’t think the AGOA arrangement is broken and it doesn’t need any fixing that is why we need an extension by another 15 years," Minister Davies said.



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