“Nigeria, others only increased US non-oil imports by a tenth of one percent” | The Guardian Nigeria News

Despite the opportunities offered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the US government has expressed concern that non-oil exports remain very low as many African countries have yet to exploit the opportunities offered by the program.

Although AGOA has been at the heart of U.S. trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa for more than 20 years – increasing investment in the continent and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Africa, only a handful of countries have benefited significantly from AGOA. .

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, speaking at the opening session of the Virtual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ministerial conference, noted that outside of the oil sector, imports under AGOA increased modestly over the life of the program.

According to her, while sub-Saharan Africa’s non-oil exports to the United States have grown over the past 20 years, the region’s market share in U.S. non-oil imports has only increased by a tenth. one percent.

She said, “As we look to the future of AGOA, we need to ask ourselves what improvements we can make to attract more investment and help small women-owned businesses find new markets for their products and to be competitive in the global economy.

“The program has also improved the export competitiveness of many African products, fostered regional integration and encouraged many US companies to do business with partners on the continent. And this has prompted many African governments to undertake key political and economic reforms.

“Much has changed in the 21 years since AGOA’s inception, and as we think more broadly about the future of the program, my goal as the US Trade Representative is to help create the conditions for long-term sustainable trade and investment. relations between the United States and Africa. At the same time, we know that these goals cannot be achieved by AGOA alone. ”

The United States’ senior director for Africa at the National Security Council, Dana Banks, had told reporters during an online news briefing that the United States was ready to do business with the continent.

“The campaign is a focused effort to elevate and energize the United States’ commitment to trade and investment with countries on the African continent under the Biden and Harris administration,” Banks said. “And our goal is to dramatically increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa by connecting American and African companies and investors with tangible deal opportunities.”

With the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Banks said America wanted to participate in Africa’s growth.

“Africa’s increasing integration into global markets, the demographic boom and the flourishing culture of entrepreneurship provide us with a remarkable opportunity to strengthen these economic ties and promote new opportunities for American and African businesses to stimulate economic growth and job creation and greater US involvement in Africa’s future, ”she said.

On the future of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Banks said, “I know there is a lot of dismay and concern about the impending end of the AGOA legislation, which seeks to expire in 2025. We are still having conversations with our colleagues in the US Trade Representative’s office about how we can sort out the next chapter of AGOA.

“I think the AfCFTA is one way we plan to increase some of the engagement we want to see with the continent through a mechanism that has been endorsed by host countries on the continent. So we want to see how we can support that and look at the next level of trade, of a trade relationship with Africa as a bloc but also with individual countries.

“I think the biggest countries on the continent have been able to reap the benefits of AGOA, and some of the – some countries, frankly, haven’t been able to do that yet. So I think we need to look for new ways to make sure that our trading relationship with all of Africa, with the whole continent, is mutually beneficial for all of us.

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