TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US-Africa Leaders Summit: CEOs promise to push AGOA further

Thursday, 07 August 2014 Published: | Makula Dunbar

Source: AFK Insider

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday hosted an event titled “A Dialogue With African CEOs” that brought together women and minority business owners, chief executives from across Africa and US and SME entrepreneurs.

The focus of the panel discussion was to examine possible business partnerships between African business and government with their American counterpart through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) that was set up 14 years ago.

Event host Gregory Meek, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Africa Task Force co-chair, said when the US congress enacted AGOA “It was with a view to expanding growth and opportunity in Africa like never before,” but their push for a “high-level dialogue with their African counterparts never materialized until now.

“I’m glad to say that 14 years later we’re having our first U.S.-Africa summit. As I look back, it’s clear to me that those years of waiting have not been in vain,” Meek said.

He pointed out that under AGOA, US imports had grown from roughly $8 billion to three times that amount between 2001 and 2013, adding that the momentum of the summit would push these figures further — for example, an increase in the 300,000 jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 120,000 jobs in the US that have already been created.

AGOA was aimed at helping Africa to use trade rather than aid to develop its generally small and fragmented economies, allowing a host of goods and services to enter the American market on preferential terms.

Measures such as AGOA and export trade guarantees are vital supports for expanding trade between African countries and the US.

US Trade Secretary Michael Froman said on Tuesday that discussions would continue about African calls for the next Agoa to last for a full 15 years, to improve planning in long-term investment sectors such as textiles.

“The congress ought to take swift action to ensure this program continues,” Steny Hoyer, U.S. House Democratic Whip said about the act.

“I feel conformable in committing to you that we will get it done,” congresswoman and CBC Africa task force co-chair Karen Bass added.

More Than A Networking Opportunity

Wednesday’s CEO’s event created a platform to stir up conversation about future deals between American corporate and African one’s. Already US President Barak Obama has announced deals from the summit worth $33 billion.

One of the world’s biggest conglomerates, GE — previously known as General Electric — announced $2 billion in investments in Africa at this summit.

Questions from the audience during the “Ask the Ministers” panel allowed for business owners to pitch business products and solutions to African ministers of agriculture and energy – two key sector in driving development on the continent.

“One good thing about the entire process is that it was happening at a time when President Obama declared the Power Africa initiative,” Chinedu Nebo, Nigeria’s minster of power said about the country’s energy sector privatization.

He along with Bruno Kapandji, Democratic Republic of Congo’s minister of Energy stressed the need for more participation from America’s private sector.

“We are not looking for handouts, we’re looking for partners,” Nebo said. “We’re not looking for aid, we’re looking for investment.”

During the infrastructure and financial markets panel session Nigeria’s Heirs Holdings Limited chairman Tony Elumelu told the audience that “Engaging with Africa in business in the 21st century will put money in your wallet. This will happen only if you make the call for American investors to invest in Africa,”

The CEO’s meeting closed out Obama’s unprecedented three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. Much of the summit has focused on Africa’s economic potential and new financial commitments from U.S. businesses.

obama summiot640px

summit 640px



Related News

Renewal of AGOA a benefit to both US and Africa

Renewal of AGOA a benefit to both US and Africa

Following the conclusion of the US-Africa Summit in Washington DC last week, it is opportune to reflect on some of the outcomes for SA and Africa. On the eve of the summit, ministers of trade from those African countries that are eligible for the trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) called upon the US to seamlessly and timeously extend Agoa...

13 August, 2014
Rep. Karen Bass - Pictures from forum Cannon House event (during 2014 AGOA Forum)

Rep. Karen Bass - Pictures from forum Cannon House event (during 2014 AGOA Forum)

Growth and Opportunity in Africa Forum in coordination with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Tuesday, August 5, 2014  [Please note - this event has concluded]   9:00 AM - 12:30 PM Cannon Caucus Room (345 Cannon House Office Building) U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Panel One 9:00 – 10:30 am Moderator: Dr. Monde Muyangwa Africa Program...

11 August, 2014
14 years of AGOA: Why no real Africa intra-trade?

14 years of AGOA: Why no real Africa intra-trade?

When President Bill Clinton signed the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) into law 14 years ago, he offered incentives for African countries to open their economies and build free markets, to move the continent from an aid dependency to a viable trading partner. That is why at their summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington, 50 African heads of states,...

07 August, 2014
African Union head cautions US on Africa

African Union head cautions US on Africa

  If the United States does not take more interest in Africa it is going to lose out, African Union commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday. “It's in their advantage to know what's happening in Africa because if they don't come to the party eventually the party will happen without them,” she said in Washington. “Business people really know...

07 August, 2014
US urged by Africa's leaders to extend AGOA trade programme

US urged by Africa's leaders to extend AGOA trade programme

African leaders urged the US on Monday to renew a trade benefits programme giving duty-free access to billions of dollars of African exports for 15 years, saying it would help cement trade relations and boost development in sub-Saharan Africa. President Jacob Zuma, one of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington to attend a three-day summit, said the renewal of the African...

06 August, 2014