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

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora