Acting Chief Executive Officer for Brand SA Sithembile Ntombela says forums such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) are imperative to redress some of the inequalities in Africa. She says the trade agreement will be advantageous for small-medium enterprises that export their products and services internationally.
Ntombela is part of the organised business members attending the AGOA Summit at NASREC in Johannesburg.
“Such forums are quite important, in fact, the essence of AGOA is precisely to help the African continent with its challenges. We know we have huge inequalities and unemployment and this is an opportunity to expand the trade and grow exports from the African continent into the US market at no cost in terms of tariffs. So, that also provides an advantageous point of position for those small – medium enterprises.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the summit earlier. He said the African continent wants to produce finished products that will be exported to other parts of the world. Africa has a large quantity of natural resources, including diamonds, gold, iron, fruit, and vegetables.
Ramaphosa says trading is part of the continent’s DNA. He has added that the continent values the relationship with the US, the biggest economy in the world.
“Africa is an important source of critical raw materials but we don’t want to define it simply as being the producers of commodities. The great opportunity lies in the transformation of rocks and metal that we produce into the sophisticated industrial and consumer goods needed across the world. Gone should be the days when Africa is seen as the source. We’d now want to produce the products. We want to earn full value for our products. It’s a journey that requires great partnerships that we should forge and we look forward to the US working with the continent to foster an investment-led approach.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address: