Zambia: AGOA strategy development initiative completed
The six month AGOA Strategy Development Initiative headed by the Honorary Consul of Zambia in California, Robert Sichinga Jnr and a team from the UCLA Anderson School of Management is complete and the final report was sent to the Zambia Development Agency. The final presentation was made at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on Friday March 11th in the presence of officials from the Consular Corp representing four other countries, the representative from the office Congresswoman Karen Bass, US business people and members of the Zambian diaspora.
The goal of the initiative was to develop a practical and sustainable strategy for Zambian businesses to access the American market through the Africa Growth Opportunity Act. AGOA expired in 2015 after 15 years but was reauthorized last July for another 10 years. During its first 15 years, several African countries including Zambia had not take full advantage of the program. With 9 years remaining under the reauthorized act, Zambia has an opportunity to increase its non-traditional exports to one of the worlds largest markets. The strategy paper is well-timed to coincide with the first year of AGOA’s ten-year renewal.
The UCLA team conducted several meetings in the US and also made two separate visits to Zambia to meet with government and private sector organizations. Significant support and assistance was provided by the Zambia Development Agency.
Honorary Consul Robert Sichinga Jr, emphasized that it was imperative that the strategy be practical and sustainable which meant that in addition to the analysis and recommendations, resources needed to be developed to enable Zambian businesses to begin taking advantage of AGOA immediately. Resources have already been developed and will be ready for dissemination with help from the ZDA and other key stakeholders. These resources include an AGOA website focused on Zambia, the full list of the 5000+ AGOA-GSP eligible items, Export Readiness Assessment Tool, Viability Assessment Framework, two booklets targeting the Zambian businesses and the US businesses, training deck for Zambian organizations to conduct training on AGOA, list of US agriculture agents and top distributors, and a list of over 700 US chambers of commerce.
Sichinga, however stated that there still remains a crucial gap that needs filling. Zambia is producing many AGOA eligible items and the US has a market for many of them but most individual producers might not be able to meet the potential US demand, so the creation of cooperatives will bring products together in larger quantities and a broker can help find the US buyer. Sichinga is currently developing the description and function of the broker.
Issued by: Honorary Consulate of Zambia in California