United States Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai says African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a foundational trade and development programme with the African continent, to help sub-Saharan countries increase their access to US markets in order to improve trade.
The AGOA Forum brings together the United States and AGOA-eligible countries along with representatives from key regional economic organisations and stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and labour to discuss how to strengthen trade and investment ties between the US and sub-Saharan Africa.
The Forum aims to promote resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and development.
Ambassador Tai says discussions are also expected to ensure that Agoa is fit for the times we live in while preparing for the future.
“Following on the African leaders summit that Joe Biden hosted in December last year the instruction to all of all was ‘go to Africa, go often, and continue to build on this partnership. The African population is young and vibrant the potential is here. We know that the future is Africa it’s the basis on which we should be building our relationship with sub-Saharan Africa and the continent that’s why it’s so important.”
VIDEO: Africa sets sights on improved AGOA:
‘Continent must fully benefit’
African trade ministers say AGOA must ensure that the continent fully benefits from the trade instrument between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 30 African nations are benefiting from the duty-free trade pact that allows some countries in the continent to trade with the United States of America.
The African Union is also represented here and it wants American investors to seize opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area to boost trade.
Over 600 businesses from the African continent are exhibiting their work here and they have clear demands that the AGOA must be extended for more years to protect jobs.
Ford Company South Africa, the only US automotive in the country says the AGOA plays an integral part in the economy of South Africa. The company is displaying its latest models of vehicles at the forum in Johannesburg.
Government Affairs and Transformation Director at Ford company, Esther Buthelezi says this agreement enables businesses to export products to the US without tax.
“It becomes extremely important especially when it comes to job creations … all over the world including the US becomes extremely important.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to give a keynote address at the Forum, which is held as the continent is grappling with a number of challenges and most countries seek to have industrial capacity to improve the quality of life.