Seychelles founding president calls on US Senate to reauthorize AGOA
Friday, 20 March 2015
Source: E-Turbo News
It is announced from Glacis-sur-Mer that the Seychelles founding President James R. Mancham has agreed to join the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), a civil society organisation Network Letter Campaign for the timely reauthorization of AGOA with the US governement.
It is to be noted that AGOA has been in operation since 2000 with a view to improve US-Africa trade and economic cooperation and that the Act is about to expire shortly.
The letter to which Sir James has agreed to be a co-signatory will be sent to the Chairs and ranking members of the Ways and Means committee of the US Senate Finance and Foreign Relations committee and is self-explanatory and reads as follows -
"Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin,
We, the members of the AGOA Civil Society Network, are writing to urge you to support a seamless and expeditious renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), slated to expire on September 30, 2015. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, with successive amendments by President George W. Bush in 2002 and 2004, AGOA now provides duty-free access to 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for 6,800 products. This first-ever trade measure has historically benefited from bipartisan support in addition to strengthening U.S. relations with African nations and fostering vital economic growth both here and on the continent.
We specifically request the following actions:
Reauthorize AGOA for 15 years until 2030. Currently, African countries are losing momentum as a result of the uncertainty for American corporations across sectors, but especially in the manufacturing of apparel. For African economies to benefit fully from AGOA and in order for both imports and exports to grow significantly, a strong and stable foundation has to be built which requires sufficient time for major investments to be amortized. The renewal of AGOA should also include extension of the third-country fabric rule for the full term of the renewal.
Reauthorize AGOA for all AGOA eligible countries. In order for African economies to continue to grow, individual nations must not only thrive, but regions must grow stronger and collaborate. Economic integration requires strong alliances and partners. Withdrawing AGOA from certain economies will only weaken existing linkages, thus thwarting gains that have materialized or may materialize in the future.
Act now for timely renewal. It is time to demonstrate that economic partnerships with African nations are important to the U.S. by not waiting until hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost to renew AGOA. In Lesotho alone, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost this month by primarily women due to the uncertainly of the re-authorization of AGOA.
Fight for a democratic and stable Africa to counter terrorism. There is no doubt that the scourge of terrorism is threatening countries in Africa with Boko Haram, Al Shabab and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb. Supporting sound, democratic economies is far less costly and far more productive than fighting the contagion of terrorism in many instances exacerbated by poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.
Prompt renewal of AGOA also protects jobs in America that are dependent upon trade with Africa. According to the U.S. Commerce International Trade Administration, "While U.S. exports to the world grew by 2.8 percent, U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa (mostly composed of machinery and aircraft) increased by 6 percent, reaching $25.4 billion." AGOA encourages export led economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and also serves as an incentive for African governments to liberalize trade policies and to engage in financial and fiscal restructuring.
Now is the time for the United States to be more proactive in promoting its business interests on the continent and in safeguarding the trade relationships we already have in place. Delay in renewing AGOA will costs hundreds of thousands of jobs in both Africa and the United States.
We call on you to vote on reauthorizing AGOA. In doing so, you will support not only the economic and security interests of 40 African nations, but the short and long-term economic and security interests of the United States.
Thank you, in advance, for consideration of this request and for your support.
The AGOA Civil Society Network."
The AGOA Civil Society Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations, (NGOs) and other groups in the United States and Africa working to facilitate the successful application of the AGOA trade bill for the benefit of small business in the US and Africa. The Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix, Mauritius.
The AGOA CSO Network's focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.
AGOA is very much the "child" of the Washington based Foundation for Democracy in Africa whose chairman Mr Fred Oladeinde awarded to Founding President Mancham its 2000 Millenium Trophy in recognition of his contribution to Peace, Progress and Prosperity in Africa.