DHL Express has said African businesses continue to reap benefits of the United States-Africa trade agreements.
DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa managing director, Charles Brewer said his firm had seen significant growth in trade volumes in the region, in terms of the trade with US since the introduction of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2000.
AGOA which provides exporters duty-free access to the lucrative US market, was recently put under the microscope at the 2014 US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum), which coincided with President Barack Obama's US-Africa Leaders Summit, both held in Washington last week.
"Trade lanes in Africa have increased significantly as a result of relieved trade barriers, which have had a positive impact on many local businesses. A key driver of this growth has been the AGOA, which has stimulated trade and investment between Africa and the United States," he said
In a statement issued in Lusaka, Mr Brewer said DHL had seen a significant growth in trade between Sub-Saharan Africa and the US, with strong positive growth in the last year.
According to statistics, US imported US$8.468 million worth of goods from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region in 2000 and $19.869 million in 2012.
Figures released by the US Department of Commerce-International Trade Administration reports that in 2013, US imports from Sub Saharan, under AGOA, totalled $39.3 billion.
The top three trade lanes to the US from the Sub-Saharan Africa region originated from Nigeria, Angola and South Africa, who accounted for $11.72, $8.74 and $8.48 billion respectively.
Mr Brewer said the Act offers tangible incentives to approximately 40 Sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries, such as duty and quota free access to the US market for certain product lines.
"AGOA has facilitated trade between Sub-Saharan Africa and the US by enabling the trade process, as well as successfully promoting the integration of Sub-Saharan Africa into the global economy. These favourable trade conditions have also allowed the region to maximise the opportunities available and increase exports," Mr Brewer said.
He said that since the introduction of AGOA, DHL Africa has seen an increase in primary trading sectors like manufacturing, apparel and footwear - all directly supported by AGOA.
In addition, they have also witnessed an increase in secondary sectors that are dependent on agriculture, petroleum and natural gases.
Due to expire in 2015, it is the decision of the US Congress on whether to extend or amend the AGOA agreement.
Mr Brewer said that Sub-Saharan Africa's growth was still dependent on trade facilitation and boosting both intra-regional trade and global trade.
"While trade between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa has increased significantly in the last few years, there is still much room for growth.
In 2013, US imports from Sub-Saharan Africa represented only 1.7 per cent of total US imports from the world.
This highlights the remaining untapped growth potential for the region," Mr Brewer said.