From July 9-12, the USAID Hub participated in the United States Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum) in Washington DC, USA. The Forum was officially opened by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan who reiterated the importance the U.S. places on the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). Deputy Secretary Sullivan stated that “It is clear that AGOA has produced results. Over the last year, total U.S. trade with Africa climbed up to $38.5 billion; that’s up from 33 billion in 2016. And the total non-oil goods trade has more than doubled from 13 billion to almost 30 billion a year. This growth has benefited both U.S. and African companies and contributed to economic opportunity and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic.” He also noted that “ USAID’s regional trade and investment hubs are breaking down barriers for commerce every day”.
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer addressed delegates during the official opening and emphasized on the United States commitment to trade with Africa.
“We are pleased to see so many leaders from Africa assemble in one room to discuss progresses under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to expand trade, investment and economic growth across the continent. This is a vitally important topic and I know that President Trump shares my views in its significance. The Administration places great importance on our relationship with Africa, and sees genuine promise in the prospects for enhanced trade relationships with our partners,” said Ambassador Lighthizer.
The Hub participated in the AGOA Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Network breakout session titled ‘AGOA Country Utilization Plan for Civil Society’. The panel discussion moderated by President of the Foundation for African Democracy, Fred Oladeinde, focused on how African countries can utilize new strategies available to gain maximum benefits from the AGOA pact with the U.S. Hub's Trade Promotion and AGOA Director Margaret Waithaka, who was among the panelists, summarized the Hub’s approach to supporting East Africa nations craft AGOA utilization strategies. She emphasized the importance of stakeholder participation and validation as well as thorough end market analysis for selected sectors.