News / Africa

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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid