May 22, 2024

U.S. Delegation Attends 20th AGOA Forum in South Africa to Strengthen Trade Relations with Africa

President Joe Biden greets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Friday, September 16, 2022, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

A senior U.S. Government delegation has embarked on a journey to South Africa to participate in the 20th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, a critical platform for fostering trade relations between the United States and Africa.

The forum, taking place from November 2 to November 4 in Johannesburg, underscores AGOA’s pivotal role in shaping trade dynamics on the African continent. Timely reauthorization and modernization of AGOA have been highlighted as key priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration.

AGOA, established nearly two decades ago, remains a cornerstone of the U.S.-Africa trade relationship. This year’s forum aims to facilitate constructive dialogue among U.S. representatives and their African counterparts from government, the private sector, trade unions, and civil society. The focus is on assessing AGOA’s strategic value and impact while exploring opportunities for its enhancement.

Leading the interagency delegation is U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai, accompanied by Assistant USTR for African Affairs Constance Hamilton. The delegation features high-ranking officials from various U.S. government agencies, demonstrating the broad-based commitment to bolstering economic ties with African nations.

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves and Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa Thomas Bruns are part of the delegation, emphasizing the economic significance of the forum. Additionally, U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) President and Chair of the Board of Directors Reta Jo Lewis, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa Monde Muyangwa bring their expertise to the discussions. Prosper Africa Coordinator British Robinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Africa and the Middle East Eric Meyer, and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont complete the delegation.

The U.S. Department of State is also well-represented, with Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) Ramin Toloui and EB Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Negotiations Tony Fernandes taking part. Chief Economist Dr. Emily Blanchard, Special Representative for International Labor Affairs Kelly Fay Rodríguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Joy Basu, and Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy Senior Advisor Ambassador Jimmy Kolker contribute to the discussions on various aspects of U.S.-Africa trade relations.

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