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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs