May 22, 2024

Ambassador Katherine Tai’s Trip to Johannesburg for the 20th AGOA Forum: Strengthening U.S.-Africa Economic Ties

Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, and head of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s presidential delegation to the inauguration of President William Ruto in a handshake with the new leader in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Other members of the presidential delegation included Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Colin Allred, United States Representative (D), Texas; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.
Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, and head of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s presidential delegation to the inauguration of President William Ruto in a handshake with the new leader in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. Other members of the presidential delegation included Meg Whitman, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Colin Allred, United States Representative (D), Texas; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.

The 20th AGOA Forum, a pivotal gathering for trade and economic cooperation between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, concluded successfully today in Johannesburg, South Africa. Co-hosted by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, the forum brought together senior government officials, private sector representatives, and civil society leaders from both sides to discuss crucial issues that can further bolster economic ties between the U.S. and African nations.

The forum built upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthening U.S.-Africa relations, following the successful U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in 2022. Key highlights of the forum included discussions on modernizing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), increasing its utilization, promoting gender equity and inclusion, and fostering a strong partnership for mutual economic growth.

In her opening and closing remarks, Ambassador Tai underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to the AGOA program and its role in driving economic opportunities for both Americans and Africans. President Biden’s strong support for the timely reauthorization of AGOA was reaffirmed, emphasizing the significance of this trade initiative.

Ambassador Tai engaged in bilateral meetings with key African leaders, including Minister Ebrahim Patel, Maneesh Gobin from Mauritius, and Ashatu Kijaji from Tanzania. These meetings focused on how worker-centered trade policies can contribute to AGOA’s success and support resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth across the continent.

Ambassador Tai also delved into regional integration issues with prominent figures such as Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Industry and Trade of the African Union, and Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). These discussions aimed to foster greater collaboration and economic integration across the African continent.

Meanwhile, Chief Agricultural Negotiator Ambassador Doug McKalip met with South Africa’s Deputy Director-General, Dipepeneneng Serage, to address bilateral market access concerns. Ambassador McKalip led a panel conversation on the United States’ commitment to enhancing food security and promoting agricultural sustainability throughout Africa.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Constance Hamilton also held productive meetings with Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Trade, Alfred K’Ombudo, and Uganda’s Minister of State for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, Harriet Ntabazi.

The AGOA Forum was attended by trade ministers from 32 AGOA-eligible countries, showcasing the program’s broad reach and significance. The United States’ delegation included representatives from various government agencies, underlining the government’s concerted effort to strengthen economic cooperation with Africa.

The 20th AGOA Forum in Johannesburg marked a critical step toward deepening the economic partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. As both regions continue to seek mutual prosperity, the forum provided an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to AGOA and explore new avenues for growth and collaboration.

The success of this forum serves as a testament to the enduring partnership between the United States and Africa and underscores the shared commitment to economic development, trade, and prosperity for all.

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