Press releases - United States - Panafrica - Trade - Investment
AGOA’s Architects Unveil New Africa Economic Policy for Obama Administration
Ten years after passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a coalition of its original architects and supporters today unveiled a comprehensive new trade and economic policy to be presented to the Obama Administration that would build on AGOA’s successes and expand the growing trade relationship between Africa and the United States.
The new policy proposal, entitled Enterprise for Development: A New Policy Approach Toward Africa, calls for the continuation of AGOA’s exclusive duty- and quota-free access to the US market for African goods, as well as policies to strengthen and grow indigenous enterprises in Africa and measures that support job creation, export promotion and prosperity in both the US and Africa.
At an AGOA Leaders Forum on the 10th anniversary of AGOA in Washington, DC, hosted by a coalition of AGOA’s US supporters, and attended by African Ministers of Finance and Ambassadors, as well as other AGOA stakeholders and business and policy leaders, Ms. Rosa Whitaker, chair of the AGOA Action Committee and President and CEO of The Whitaker Group, the premier US trade consultancy facilitating trade between the US and Africa, hailed the success of AGOA over the past decade in creating more than 300,000 jobs in Africa and bringing about $300 billion in export earnings and nearly $30 billion in non-oil exports to Africa at a minimal cost to US taxpayers.
"Over the past decade, we have learned that AGOA should be just one tool - albeit a critical one - in America’s arsenal to support Africa as it grows its own prosperity. We have learned that what Africa needs from the United States is a concerted, multifaceted trade and investment policy that brings together the trade preferences of AGOA with trade capacity building, strategic development assistance and incentives to spur greater foreign direct investment by U.S. businesses in Africa," she said.
Ms. Whitaker issued an impassioned call to action and warned that if current proposals in the US Congress to extend AGOA benefits - duty and quota-free access to the US market - to all Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including hyper-competitive Asian nations, it would have catastrophic consequences for Africa, particularly to the nascent apparel exporting sector.
Also speaking at the Forum were the Honorable Mr. Timothy Thahane, Minister of Finance and Development Planning for the Kingdom of Lesotho, and renowned development economist Dr. Paul Collier, Director for the Study of African Economics at Oxford University.
Minister Thahane said AGOA had increased employment in Lesotho’s apparel sector from 10,000 in 2000 when AGOA was enacted to 45,000 today, adding that it had transformed Lesotho’s economy and brought life-changing benefits particularly to Lesotho’s women, who make up most of the apparel industry’s workforce, and their children.
Dr. Collier described AGOA as so successful that it should be replicated by the European Union and Japan. "There is a real opportunity for AGOA to go global. If we had a Super AGOA that included Europe and Japan, it would make life so much easier for Africa," he said.
The Whitaker Group is the premier strategic consulting firm in the US creating sustainable prosperity in Africa. To learn more, please visit us at www.thewhitakergroup.us.
Source: The Whitaker Group