By Enyichukwu Enemanna
US President, Joe Biden says Washington is supporting the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a landmark law which allows the US trade with sub-Saharan Africa, a deal that has lasted for more than two decades.
Introduced in 2000, the trade agreement permits exporters from eligible nations access to the US market duty-free and was scheduled to expire in September 2025.
“I encourage Congress to reauthorize AGOA in a timely fashion and to modernize this important Act for the economic opportunities of the coming decade,” Biden said in a statement issued by the White House.
“I am committed to expeditiously working with Congress and our African partners to renew this law beyond 2025, in order to deepen trade relations between our countries,” he said.
South Africa is hosting the yearly AGOA Forum in Johannesburg from November 2–4, for African trade ministers and officials.
The forum is centered around whether the pact could be extended and for how long or if there will be any changes. The trade initiative is seen as the centrepiece of American policy for the African continent.
African nations are advocating for an early, unmodified 10-year renewal to allay business and investor apprehensions on AGOA’s future.
A senior US trade official said last week that the trade pact requires changes, but did not give details.
About 35 African countries have used AGOA to increase exports to the US, particularly in the textile industry.
Some of the major beneficiaries under the programme are South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Ethiopia.
Biden said AGOA is facilitating private-sector led economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa by increasing the competitiveness of African products, diversifying African exports, and enabling the creation of tens of thousands of new, quality jobs on the continent.
“Africa is the future – and so when Africa succeeds, the whole world succeeds,” the US President said.