From Chisha Mutale in Washington DC
African Leaders want AGOA extended
Washington DC , August 5, 2014, ZANIS–African leaders attending the US-Africa Summit in Washington DC are calling for the extension of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The Act , which is in its 14th year, is a crucial component to preserving the trade ties between Africa and the United States of America and is due for renewal in 2015.
ZANIS reports from Washington DC that Republican Vice President Guy Scott says Zambia stands to learn and benefit from the US-Africa Summit and particularly the AGOA forum where various issues of importance to the country’s economy are being discussed.
Speaking during an interview with journalists in Washington DC, Dr. Scott said it was not a matter of having a treaty on the table but of whether Zambia was benefitting from it or not.
Meanwhile, Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga who is also attending the meeting says the AGOA forum met on the sidelines of the US-Africa Summit to strategize a common position.
Mr. Sichinga said there was need for Africa to agree on a common position with the US as AGOA was subject to renewal next year in September.
The commerce minister said the Act which was a voluntary programme that was set-up by the American government under the Clinton administration offered to African countries free qota and duty free access to the American market.
Mr Sichinga said there was need to identify the challenges experienced over the past 14 years and what solutions could be brought on board to improve the Act.
Mr. Sichinga further stated that pertinent issues such as the need to improve infrastructure and power supply were critical to ensuring that finished products are produced.
AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade preference programme that provides duty free treatment to U. S. imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries including Zambia which stand to benefit from this trade opportunity.
The AGOA has pulled together a high-level forum of leaders of entrepreneurs and leaders in business, government, civil society and the media to explore priorities for U.S-Africa policy.
They will also explore business strategies for economic growth and development, innovation, governance, and shifting perceptions of Africa to the rest of the world.