Industrialisation and Trade Corner
Harnessing productive sectors’ through value chains to enhance intra-African trade and regional integration
Integrating Africa is the AfDB Group’s blog on regional integration in Africa. It chronicles the issues arising from African countries’ efforts as they work to pool resources and integrate their economies for the development of their regional and individual economies. Read More
Zenia A. Lewis
Zenia A. Lewis is currently working for the AfDB as a Trade Advisor to the African Union Mission in Washington, DC. Prior to working with the AfDB she worked with the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. While with Brookings she focused on policy related to the U.S.-Africa trade and commercial relationship, intra-African trade and regional integration. She has worked on issues related to natural resource revenue management in Africa and Latin America, and has done survey work in different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Zenia has also served as a consultant on various trade and economic development related projects with several organizations. She has authored and coauthored numerous blogs, articles and publications with the Brookings Institution, as well as with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the Financial Time’s This is Africa, and the AfDB. Zenia has a master’s degree in public policy focusing in international trade and economic development from the University of Michigan.
Encouraging signs on AGOA renewal in Washington, but poultry debate presents a hurdle to be overcome
With just months to go before the expiration of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), discussions have been heating up in Washington, DC on how to proceed with a renewal. Policymakers in Africa and the US have indicated for years the importance of extending the legislation well before its September 2015 expiration, noting that orders of African goods in certain sectors, like textiles and apparel, must be made nine months in advance.
Last month, from January 19 to 23, the African Union mission, in collaboration with the African Ambassador Group of Washington, DC and the African Development Bank with the support of the Africa Trade Fund project on boosting US-Africa trade, hosted a high-level delegation of African Ministers of Trade focused on promoting the expeditious renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – a key component within the architecture of US-Africa trade.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is the primary legislation that defines the U.S.-Africa commercial relationship. The benefits provided by AGOA have allowed for an average of around 70 per cent of all imports from Sub-Saharan Africa to enter the U.S. duty-free since the enactment of the legislation. While AGOA has been successful in providing duty-free access, it still leaves a great deal to be desired regarding the promotion of sustainable economic gains for the continent. Understanding where AGOA has been successful and considering how to enhance its impact is important, especially at this time when its renewal is being debated and requires decisive action over the next 12-18 months.
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