Zambia to boost AGOA with strategy
Zambia has developed a strategy to help local exporters increase penetration of the United States of America market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The National Response Strategy which has cost US$100,000 will be implemented to address the difficulties that Zambian companies faced in accessing the US market in the last 15 years of utilising the AGOA.
AGOA was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title One of the Trade and Development Act of 2000.
The Act offered tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.
Zambian Ambassador to the United States Palan Mulonda said the plan would help Zambian exporters to penetrate and utilise the AGOA once it had been reauthorised.
"As a mission, we have managed to secure funding for the development of the AGOA National Response Strategy from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNICA). This is being finalised and a consultant has been hired," he said.
Mr Mulonda said in an interview in Washington DC that Zambian companies had not made full use of the AGOA over the last 15, hence the need to strategise for a second approach to increase exports.
"This is a preferential trade facility which has a lifespan and we need to make use of that lifespan and we have not made the best use of it over the last 15 years, as a country we believe with a new strategy in place we will definitely make inroads into this market and take advantage of this market and try to contribute significantly to Zambia's Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs)".
"We believe NTEs are the way to go and we can't rely on copper with its up and downs, so we are looking to AGOA and the opportunities within the market," he added.
Mr Mulonda said having a sound strategy which addresses a number of issues concerning the America market was cardinal to the development of the country.
The Zambian Mission was also putting together strategies that would increase a two-way traffic between the US and Zambia.
"What we are doing currently as an embassy is carrying out a profiling exercise and we are profiling all the companies that are exporting various products to Zambia and in the same way we are also profiling Zambian companies that are exporting to the US," he said.
"We hope to feed this information into the national strategy as we interrogate why the volumes are not growing, why there has been no expansion or why companies are pulling out," he said.