10 May 2014

Ethiopia: Kerry Hints At Agoa's Extension

Photo: Clean Clothes Campaign
Swazi textile factory making sweaters and jeans for the African market.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry hinted that the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would be extended during his speech to the Young African Leaders Network at the Gulele Botanical Gardens last Saturday.

He said that there are various packages framed to boost the US-Africa partnership. According to Kerry, increasing America's investment in Africa is the interest of the United States, so the American government encourages US companies to explore investment opportunities on the continent. "Africa should not be a destination for philanthropy but a destination for investment," he said. IBM and Google have been exploring the continent while MICROSOFT has already headed to Kenya, Kerry said.

AGOA is also another vital tool to strengthen the partnership between the US and Africa. Despite its expiration in 2015, AGOA's extension looks promising. AGOA was signed into law by the former president Bill Clinton in 2000 to increase business-to-business relations between the US and African countries through duty-free export of certain African products to the United States. It was noted that 39 AGOA-eligible sub-Saharan African countries exported nearly USD 35 billion in products to the United States when Ethiopia hosted the forum last year in August.

The press release by the State Department then also stated that there had been promising causes to encouraging the Obama administration to work with Congress and other stakeholders on AGOA's extension after September 30, 2015, when the current Act is due to expire. AGOA is believed to have provided incentives for African countries to improve their investment climate, reduce corruption, respect human and labor rights and rule of law, improve infrastructure and harmonize trade to the standard that helps countries become competitive in the global market.

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