The Africa Travel and Nature Library


The AGOA Ministerial Forum concluded yesterday (August 13) with a final session in which a brief summary of the concurrent sessions was presented to participants. The closing session was attended by Ambassador Donald Yamamato, US Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ethiopia's Minister of Communication Technology, Ato Debretsion Gebremichael, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Erastus Mwencha, and other high level dignitaries and officials.

The Ministerial Forum ended with the adoption of the senior officials meeting report. This recommended enhanced political dialogue between US and Africa, the reauthorization of AGOA for at least another 15 years, capacity building to generate private sector engagement, increased trade and market access, encouragement of US investment in Africa and to uphold AGOA preferences for items exported from Africa. In his closing remarks, Dr. Tedros noted that Africa was asking for reauthorization of AGOA "not as a permanent preferential access measure, but rather as a way to fully achieve the very goals set from the outset". He added that "timing was of essence in reauthorization of the AGOA; we cannot afford to risk loss of orders and loss of jobs in delaying the reauthorization." He also pointed out the need to carry out a thorough review of the progress and the gaps of AGOA, to explore better ways to utilize its benefit. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto reassured participants that the US administration would work with the AGOA Ambassador Group in Washington to see to it that AGOA was reauthorized in a timely fashion.

Hailing Africa's leap in economic growth, Ambassador Yamamoto called on all" to roll up their sleeves to ensure that Africa becomes the future for every opportunity". Dr. Mwencha underlined the importance of implementing AGOA and its full utilization. Both would be equally important in the reauthorization of AGOA After 2015. Minister Debretsion expressed his hope that AGOA would continue to be a driver in Africa's economic transformation in the future.

By Jackson Okoth

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Trade ministers from 39 African nations are held in meeting with the US government officials in Addis Ababa, to review the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) deal

This comes as at a time when the European Union  is also locked in intense negotiations with Africa for a reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) that will open up Africa to European goods and vice versa.

“We are of the view that Africa must engage in regional markets so that they can gain economies of scale and become more competitive on the global stage,” said Michael Froman, US Trade Representative via a conference call at the US embassy, Nairobi. The meeting that started last week, ends today in Ethiopia’s capital city.

Signed in 2000, the AGOA trade deal has created trade and investment opportunities for both the US and Africa. “The review we are doing now will determine how to modify the agreement going forward. We will do a report to US congress which is to carry the process further,” said Froman. Under discussions at Addis Ababa meeting include length of the AGOA extension beyond 2014.

Duty-free access

 Others are what format the deal should take in terms of product to be included in the list of those benefiting from duty-free access to US markets, scope and coverage.

It is still unclear whether the US will remodel the AGOA deal and make in reciprocal like the EPAs. “There will be significant skepticism if we are to allow only one-way access to the USA market. We are looking at this aspect in the review,” said Froman.

AGOA provides beneficiary countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the liberal access to the US market available to any country or region with which there is no Free Trade Agreement.

It reinforces African reform efforts, provides improved access to US credit and technical expertise.

2010 AGOA Forum; "New Strategies for a Changing World"

(August 2-3: Washington, DC&endash;Ronald Reagan Building; August 4-6: Kansas City, MO)

• 2010 AGOA Agenda

• Executive Summary

• AGOA Forum Panel Descriptions

• Kansas City Logistics

AGOA Civil Society Forum

"A Decade of Progress in Bridging the U.S. &endash; Africa Trade Gap", July 29-30

• Civil Society Forum Registration

• Civil Society Agenda

• Civil Society Panel Description

• U.S. Civil Society Coalition for African Trade & Investment Flyer

• Civil Society Forum Communique

• U.S. Civil Society & AGOA

The eighth AGOA Forum was held in Nairobi, Kenya , August 4-6, 2009. The theme of the Forum was "Realizing the Full Potential of AGOA through Expansion of Trade and Investment." The Forum focussed on a number of crucial trade and economic issues, including but not limited to how countries can take full advantage of the range of export opportunities that AGOA offers. The Ministerial discussions were held on August 5-6, and the private sector and civil society groups regarding related events were held on August 4.


AGOA and Uganda

Speaking on AGOA was Uganda's President Museveni, Chairman of the Common Market for East and Southern African States (COMESA), who has emerged as one of the most significant leaders in the developing world. Under his helm, Uganda has distinguished itself as a model post-conflict reformer - leading the world in tackling HIV/AIDS, poverty, and illiteracy. Uganda, the fastest growing economy in Africa, has maintained an average growth rate of 6.5 percent over the past ten years; reduced poverty from 56 percent to under 27 percent; decreased the rate of HIV/AIDS infection from 30 percent to six percent in 10 years; increased primary-level education from 40 percent to 99 percent in twelve years and leads the developing world in empowering women. world in empowering women.

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