Ramaphosa to address Agoa summit

President Cyril Ramaphosa will discuss Agoa with US President Joe Biden. Picture: Fikile Marakalla/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa will discuss Agoa with US President Joe Biden. Picture: Fikile Marakalla/GCIS

Published Oct 26, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) summit and the role it will play to deepen trade and investment on the continent.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the Agoa summit will strengthen relations between the US and Africa.

The preferential trade agreement has been in existence for more than 20 years and has been extended several times.

Ramaphosa told business leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York a few weeks ago that he wanted Agoa to be extended for 10 years.

Magwenya said on Thursday the Agoa summit will be held next week.

“During the forum, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address shared priorities and opportunities to make Agoa more transformative.

“The gathering will bring together governments from the United States and Agoa-eligible countries, along with representatives from key regional economic organisations, the private sector, civil society, and labour.

“Over the course of the event, participants will delve into conversations about strengthening trade and investment ties between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on promoting resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and development,” said Magwenya.

South Africa was hosting the Agoa summit next week in Johannesburg.

It was last held in Ivory Coast in 2019.

Influential US Congress members tried to move the Agoa forum away from South Africa after a fallout between the US and South Africa.

This was after the docking of the Russian vessel in Simon’s Town last December.

The US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, alleged that South Africa sold arms to the Russians, and they were loaded onto the ship.

But this was denied by government, and Ramaphosa set up an inquiry, led by retired Judge Phineas Mojapelo.

The inquiry cleared government and found nothing was loaded on the Russian vessel.

Magwenya said Agoa was a key driver in growing the economy in Africa.

“An extension of Agoa beyond 2025 is expected to promote inward investment in Africa and provide mutual benefits to the United States and African countries. This extension will further support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), covering 54 countries and 1.4 billion people,” said Magwenya.

He said Agoa has provided markets for products that are exported to the US.

“In 2022, South African exports under the Most Favoured Nation system accounted for the largest share and export value of the country's total exports to the US market, steadily growing from $5.6 billion in 2011 to $12.7 billion in 2022.

“Trade under Agoa accounted for approximately 21% of South Africa's total exports to the United States in 2022, increasing in value from $2.0 billion in 2021 to $3.0 billion in 2022,” said Magwenya.