The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga is leading a campaign aimed at creating awareness about the opportunities provided by the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Kadaga who was speaking earlier today during a press conference, said that the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the AGOA Country Response Office will on 14 and 15 May 2019 hold the Uganda Parliamentary AGOA Sensitization Workshop and Exhibition at the parliament grounds.
The exhibition which is being held in collaboration with the USAID Hub is expected to attract over 70 exhibitors.
The speaker, said that the exhibition and workshop is timely because many Ugandans are not aware of the benefits of AGOA and how to access them.
“Uganda can take advantage of the 8,000 products that can be exported to the United States of America,” Kadaga said.
On her part, the chairperson of the AGOA Exporters Association of Uganda, Meg Hilbert Jacquay gave an assurance that accessing AGOA is not difficult and is open to everyone.
“As long as one has products that meet the international market needs, they can be exported. We need to end the notion that AGOA is dead, we are very much alive in Uganda,” said Hilbert Jacquay.
She encouraged Ugandans to take advantage of the need for fresh foods in the American market.
“There is no fresh food allowed in the US because no one has asked. If Uganda is interested especially in exporting avocado, there is a huge opportunity that lies in exporting fresh foods to America,” said Hilbert Jacquay.
The Senior Presidential Advisor on AGOA, Susan Muhwezi applauded the contribution from the private sector to the progress made so far by AGOA. She said that in 2017, AGOA made US$ 82million and US$ 53 million in 2008 in exports to America.
“In 2018, the figures however, went down to US$ 40 million. This performance is dismal compared to other African countries that are making billions from AGOA,” said Muhwezi.
She called for prioritization of AGOA through funding of the line ministries including that of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as that of Trade.
In a related interview with Africa Tembelea, Mrs Muhwezi noted that, by promoting a greater understanding of AGOA, more businesses can take advantage of the trade preference’s duty-free access to the U.S. market, thus enhancing their competitiveness and positioning their businesses for greater growth.
“Tthe event will highlight opportunities in the U.S. market, share current exporters’ experiences and kickoff the AGOA Exporters Association of Uganda,” Mrs Muhwezi added.
– AGOA –
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted into law on May 18, 2000 as part of the Trade and Development Act of 2000. It is one of the main initiatives in United States trade policy that are based on the general philosophy of “Trade not Aid” and is focused on promoting economic development.
There are many AGOA success stories for example transportation equipment mostly automobile imported into US from South Africa grew from $ 296mn in 2001 to US $ 2.1bn in 2011). Kenya has benefited greatly in cut flower and garments while Lesotho private sector now employs people than the Government, thanks to AGOA which has generated 50,000 jobs in Lesotho garment sector alone. Under AGOA Ethiopia has developed a robust shoe export market. Uganda too is exporting shoes to the US though we still get our leather from Kenya and add value here.
For the case of Uganda, President Museveni was the first African president to endorse AGOA which was subsequently endorsed by other African Governments. Currently they are about 40 Sub-Saharan African eligible countries exporting under AGOA.