Cape Town - The South African and US governments have both expressed their intention to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond 2025, a move touted to further grow infrastructure development and investment on the African continent.
Following the recent 20th Agoa forum at Nasrec, Johannesburg, at the weekend, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken threw his weight behind Agoa.
“For more than two decades, and for hundreds of thousands of people across sub-Saharan Africa, Agoa has meant new jobs, new skills, new connections, new investment; it’s meant less corruption and greater human and labour rights,” Blinken said.
“And all that has translated to new and powerful partnerships to advance solutions to shared challenges from the climate crisis to food insecurity to supply chain disruptions and vulnerabilities.
“Precisely because more inclusive, sustainable growth is good for Africa and good for America – good for the world – President Biden fully supports the reauthorisation of Agoa.
“But we don’t just want to extend Agoa; we want to work with the United States Congress to make it even better, and that’s what this week’s dialogue is all about.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that extending Agoa beyond 2025 would provide certainty for companies wanting to invest or expand their operations in eligible African countries.
South Africa is the US’s largest trading partner in Africa, with the US exporting more goods to the country and importing more goods from South Africa than any other African country.
“A renewal of Agoa will incentivise greater US investment in Sub-Saharan Africa and improve the export competitiveness of African products.
“As the cornerstone of the US’s trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa, Agoa has played an important, catalytic and transformative role in these economies.
“Agoa enhances the diversification of African economies by enabling them to export value-added products.
“By enabling African countries to have preferential access to the US market, this incentivises African countries to develop and export value-added goods and services.”
The South African Cabinet meanwhile also welcomed the Agoa extension.
“The Cabinet has always asserted that Agoa provides an opportunity for the United States of America to strengthen its economic relationship with Africa and thus it must be extended for a meaningful period, enhanced to make it impactful and attractive,” it said.