VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott says Zambia stands to learn and benefit from the US-Africa Summit and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum which are discussing pertinent issues to the countryâ€™s economy.
President Barack Obama plans to announce US$14 billion in commitments from US companies for investments in Africa, a centrepiece of his goal of strengthening commercial ties to the continent.
According to Bloomberg, more than a dozen companies, including General Electric Co. (GE) and International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, are making the pledge, which Mr Obama is scheduled to outline during the US-Africa Business Forum in Washington that is part of a three-day summit involving 40 African heads of State, according to an administration official.
The White House said in a statement that the money will go into construction, energy, finance and technology.
They â€świll deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for U.S. businesses,â€ť the administration said.
And US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has said about US$900 million in business deals will be formally announced during the event.
African leaders attending the US-Africa Summit in Washington DC are calling for the extension of the 14-year-old AGOA.
The Act is a crucial component of trade ties between Africa and the US.
Dr Scott told journalists here yesterday that it is not a matter of having a treaty on the table but a question of whether Zambia is benefitting from the treaty.
â€śWe are getting more cunning. This is not for show or parade, we want to take away from here benefits for Zambia,â€™â€™ Dr Scott said.
And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Robert Sichinga said the AGOA forum met on the sidelines of the US-Africa Summit to strategise a common position.
â€śAs you know, the AGOA is subject to renewal next year in September and, therefore, it was necessary to agree on what the common position would be and basically the position of the US.
â€śWe came up with a common African position of what we are going to seek and definitely what has come up is that there is need to renew the AGOA Act,â€ť he said.
Mr Sichinga said AGOA is a voluntary programme that was set by the US government under the Clinton administration to offer African countries quota-free and duty-free access to the US market.
Mr Sichinga said there is need to identify challenges experienced over the past 14 years and ideas that can be taken on board to improve it.
AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade preference programme that provides duty-free treatment to US imports on certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.
African countries such as Zambia stand to benefit from this opportunity.
AGOA has pulled together a high-level forum of leaders, entrepreneurs and leaders in business, Government, civil society and the media to explore priorities for US-Africa policy, business strategies for economic growth and development; innovation, governance, and shifting perceptions of Africa in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Zambia Daily Mail