For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, delegates from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will join the tenth annual forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act in Lusaka, Zambia. Known as “AGOA”, the forum is the centerpiece of U.S. trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Julie Howard, Deputy Coordinator for Development for the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative, which is led by USAID, will lead the USAID delegation. USAID's Ricardo Michel, a senior economic growth and trade advisor, will also represent USAID at the forum.
The theme of this year's forum is Enhanced Trade Through Increased Competitiveness, Value Addition and Deeper Regional Integration.” More than 1,600 participants are expected.
During the forum, Dr. Howard will emphasize the United States' commitment to building African capacity for trade, which is critical to meeting development priorities ranging from food security to economic growth. Michel will highlight the importance of engaging both public and private sectors and integrating small and medium enterprises in trade efforts to maximize AGOA's impact.
“The AGOA forum provides a tremendous an opportunity for us to engage with government leaders and representatives from the private sector and civil society from 37 African countries on issues that are of critical importance to global prosperity,” said Howard. “Providing support for improved trade in Africa is one of the fastest ways we can reduce poverty and spur economic growth.”
In just a short time, AGOA has achieved demonstrable results, helping increase U.S. two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa to $82 billion in 2010 and helping sub-Saharan Africa become further integrated into the global economy. AGOA also helps support regional economic integration and provides incentives for beneficiary countries to improve their overall investment climates, reduce corruption, improve infrastructure, and harmonize trade standards to help them become more competitive in the global marketplace.
Through AGOA, USAID offers firm-level assistance, advises governments on improving the enabling environment for trade, helps African countries overcome infrastructure constraints, and works to improve access to finance to enhance Africa's competitiveness for trade and investment. USAID also educates African entrepreneurs on how to best leverage the benefits offered by AGOA.
Under AGOA, 37 eligible countries can export products to the United States duty-free – nearly 6,500 products from apparel to automobiles, and footwear to fruit. AGOA also provides a framework for technical assistance to help countries take advantage of the trade preferences.
For more information about USAID efforts with AGOA, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: June 01, 2012