May 19, 2024

President Biden Stresses Strong Support for AGOA Reauthorization

President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

President Joe Biden on Wednesday expressed strong support for the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a pivotal bipartisan law that has been a cornerstone of U.S. trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa for over two decades.

In a statement, President Biden encouraged Congress to promptly reauthorize AGOA and modernize this vital Act to harness the economic opportunities of the coming decade.

“I strongly support reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act— a landmark, bipartisan law that has formed a bedrock for U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa for more than two decades. I encourage Congress to reauthorize AGOA in a timely fashion and to modernize this important Act for the economic opportunities of the coming decade.
 
“AGOA is facilitating private-sector led economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa by increasing the competitiveness of African products, diversifying African exports, and enabling the creation of tens of thousands of new, quality jobs in Africa. The benefits are felt on both sides of the Atlantic: AGOA fosters a more competitive environment for U.S. businesses operating in sub-Saharan Africa.
 
“I am committed to expeditiously working with Congress and our African partners to renew this law beyond 2025, in order to deepen trade relations between our countries, advance regional integration, and realize Africa’s immense economic potential for our mutual benefit. In so many ways, Africa is the future – and so when Africa succeeds, the whole world succeeds,” President Biden wrote.

High-Level Delegation for AGOA Forum

In response to President Biden’s call, British A. Robinson, the Coordinator of Prosper Africa, will be part of a high-level U.S. government delegation attending the 20th U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, also known as the AGOA Forum. The event is scheduled to take place from November 2nd to 4th in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The AGOA Forum serves as an annual gathering that brings together leaders from the United States and AGOA-eligible African countries, as well as representatives from the business and civil society sectors. Its primary focus is to facilitate discussions on strengthening trade and investment ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

AGOA’s Crucial Role in Trade

Enacted in the year 2000, AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for more than 6,800 eligible products. This significant trade law has played a pivotal role in fostering economic growth and development in the region. However, with AGOA’s current legislation set to expire in 2025, the 20th AGOA Forum takes on added importance.

Prosper Africa Initiative’s Impact

The U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative, launched in 2023, has been making significant strides in boosting trade and investment between the United States and Africa. According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), AGOA imports into the U.S. for 2021 reached $6.7 billion, marking an increase from $4.2 billion in 2020.

Coordinator Robinson emphasized the impact of Prosper Africa, stating, “Prosper Africa is not just a way to do trade and investment, but to do it on an exponential scale.” The initiative has been instrumental in closing the information gap on AGOA utilization, forging transformative partnerships between African suppliers and U.S. buyers, and expanding access to trade finance.

Private Sector Dialogue and Economic Growth

During the AGOA Forum, a Private Sector Dialogue on November 2nd will convene African government and private sector leaders to provide insights into the official AGOA Ministerial meeting. Coordinator Robinson will actively participate in high-level roundtables and events aimed at understanding private sector needs related to AGOA and accelerating exports under the Act.

AGOA continues to foster private-sector-led economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of African products, diversifying exports, and creating tens of thousands of new, high-quality jobs in the region. The benefits are mutual, as AGOA also creates a more competitive environment for U.S. businesses operating in sub-Saharan Africa.

A Commitment to Renewal and Prosperity

President Biden expressed his commitment to swiftly work with Congress and African partners to renew AGOA beyond 2025. This commitment aims to deepen trade relations between the United States and Africa, promote regional integration, and unlock Africa’s vast economic potential for the benefit of both parties.

In his closing remarks, President Biden highlighted the importance of Africa’s success, stating, “In so many ways, Africa is the future – and so when Africa succeeds, the whole world succeeds.”

The 20th AGOA Forum holds the promise of advancing these goals and fostering continued economic cooperation between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

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