News / Africa

Clinton to Attend US-Africa Trade Forum During Visit to Zambia

Mariama Diallo

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among delegates from the United States expected to attend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, forum in Zambia this week.

African Growth and Opportunity Act is designed to strengthen trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. And Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis says AGOA works best when it improves conditions for individuals and countries in terms of economic growth and job creation.


“You can go in various countries in Africa, meet a woman who is HIV positive and has a job and is able to support her children because she is employed by a jam factory that exports jam from Swaziland to the U.S. or you can go to Liberia and meet a woman who would not have had a job otherwise, but for the fact that she works for a factory that’s exporting high-quality African organic cotton T-shirts to the U.S,” Marantis said.

But despite such progress, Marantis says more needs to be done. “There hasn’t been enough utilization of AGOA by African countries. We need to spend more time together thinking of how each individual AGOA beneficiary country can make better use of AGOA,” Marantis said.

But Stephen Hayes from the Corporate Council on Africa says it’s hard to take advantage of something when countries face inadequate conditions.

“Let’s be fair. How can they use it if they lack the infrastructure and the training of workforce, capacity building to really use it effectively? You’ve got to have road structures to get products to market. You’ve got to have manufacturing capabilities. It doesn’t just come overnight and to get that, you’ve got to have investors. You can’t just send textiles in trinkets and expect that AGOA works,” Hayes said.   

AGOA has worked in South Africa, Hayes says, because the infrastructure is there. He also brought up another issue.

“Our second major beneficiary, somewhat jokingly, of AGOA was China. By moving their textile plants to Africa, then they didn’t have to worry about the tariffs,” Hayes said,.

Marantis says the U.S. market is open to 98 percent of Africa’s products, but to be eligible, countries must make progress in establishing the rule of law, protecting human rights and fighting corruption. The U.S. last year terminated trade benefits with Niger, Guinea and Madagascar because of lack of progress in those areas.

“I worked six years in this free trade zone. But now our garment factory has shut and the Chinese left. So we no longer have work there and we keep ourselves busy with household jobs,” said Ralalaoarisoa Mamy, a resident of Madagascar.

In addition to meeting the criteria of eligibility, there are lots of competitive challenges that make trading from Africa to the United States difficult. Marantis says the U.S. has created trade hubs to provide technical assistance to the African exporters.

“An exporter can learn this is how I market a product in the United States, this is the kind of packaging that could work so I can better sell my products and this is how I can assess how much capacities I need as an exporter in order to accommodate orders in the U.S,” Marantis said.

The AGOA Forum brings together over 600 participants, including senior U.S. and African officials, as well as U.S. and African members of the private sector and civil society.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid