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Why AGOA should be extended for 15 years: An Ethiopian case study

Published on March 20, 2015

For the last 24 months, the African Union and African diplomatic corps in Washington have been advocating a 15-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Obama administration has also called for a 15-year extension.

In many respects, Ethiopia works well as a representative AGOA country. It is an agriculture-based economy and, with 94 million people, the second-most populous nation in Africa. The country has experienced impressive economic growth of 10.7 percent from 2003 to 2012 and actually has no oil and few minerals to export. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 173 out of 187 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index.

Ethiopia is at the forefront of utilizing AGOA: It is among the first countries to develop an AGOA strategy, a draft of which was completed in October 2013. More recently, an AGOA Center was established in the Ministry of Trade with a mandate to help Ethiopian companies take advantage of the legislation.

Ethiopia is creating opportunities around AGOA outside of the government as well: Three years ago, as a result of significant government investments, the Ethiopian Institute of Textile and Fashion Technology opened at Bahir Dar University. Last year's graduating class of 45 were all employed by Ethiopian apparel companies. While this number might seem small, it is actually impressive and suggests that the institute has the potential to become a center of excellence on the continent for apparel design and the backbone of a robust national apparel industry. Read more. Source | Brookings