Eight countries that signed a trade agreement known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) exported goods worth $1 billion to the United States in 2018.
AGOA is a United States Trade Act, enacted on 18th May, 2000, which significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries. While it was originally intended for a period of eight years, subsequent renewals have ensured its existence till at least the year 2025.
According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), it is the US Government’s intention that the largest possible number of Sub-Saharan African countries are able to take advantage of AGOA. Former US President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation on October 2, 2000 designating 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as eligible for the trade benefits of AGOA.
In this regard, the ITA strengthens the competitiveness of US industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of the country’s trade laws and agreements. Former President Barack Obama also endorsed interregional trade efforts under the AGOA treaty.
More recently, Kenya has been named one of the anchor country in the region for President Donald Trump’s foreign policy on the continent, which is likely to include increased trade between the two regions.
Under the AGOA charter, exports from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius and Burundi, saw their exports rise by 17% during the period October 2017 to September 2018, compared to the same period in the previous year.
Kenya, which was the largest exporter of the eight, accounted for $454 million while Ethiopia’s exports accounted for $137 million. AGOA data has revealed that 84.4% of their exports is accounted for apparel.
African countries have been encouraged to capitalize on the opportunities that AGOA has to offer.
Today, the African Countries AGOA Eligible include: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.