U.S. Announces New African Trade Capacity Building Initiative at AGOA Forum

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 9, 2011
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

LUSAKA, Zambia – The United States announced an additional commitment of up to $30 million per year for four years, subject to availability of funds, to boost trade capacity in Africa. United States Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, made the announcement during the opening session of the Tenth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum today in Lusaka, Zambia.

This support will be directed to African Trade Hubs through the African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative (ACTE). The trade hubs -- located in Accra, Ghana (with a satellite office in Dakar, Senegal); Nairobi, Kenya; and Gaborone, Botswana -- are regional leaders in trade-related technical assistance that promote increased trade between Africa and the United States, among other African countries, and with the world. Enacted in 2000, AGOA aims to boost economic growth in Africa and, by extension, increase regional stability, and reduce poverty by providing duty-free entry to the U.S. market for most goods produced in eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

The ACTE initiative reflects the continuing commitment of the U.S. Government to support African trade capacity building and to help Africans to use trade to advance economic growth and development. ACTE also compliments activities taking place under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

By building on the success of previous trade promotion activities in the region, this investment will facilitate an increase in African exports of non-traditional, value-added products, such as those promoted under AGOA, including apparel, footwear, and processed agricultural products. It will also help to enhance Africa's trade image in world markets, tailor trade-boosting activities to specific countries and sectors, and support evaluation and promotion of the most effective methods for building sustainable trade capacity. In addition, activities funded through this commitment will leverage private sector resources and investments by other donors.

Through ACTE, USAID will broaden and deepen the African Trade Hubs' ability to facilitate agricultural trade and develop successful value chains, as well as assist African firms in meeting plant health and food safety standards for their exports. ACTE will also help to improve the business-enabling environment for trade by reducing trade costs within Africa and working with businesses, trade associations, and governments to develop national export promotion and diversification strategies.

Previously, USAID channeled its work in this area through the African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI), a five-year program launched in 2006. Through 2010, AGCI trade and investment programs facilitated over $178 million in AGOA exports, provided export capacity building assistance to over 234,000 firms, and trained nearly 660,000 Africans in trade capacity building. In addition, AGCI infrastructure programs leveraged over $2 billion in investment for infrastructure, and enabled 650,000 Africans to access Internet services.

For more information about USAID, please visit www.usaid.gov.

Last updated: December 18, 2014

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