Côte d’Ivoire and the United States are co-hosting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Abidjan, from August 4-6.
The Forum has brought together senior government officials from the 39 AGOA-eligible sub-Saharan African countries to discuss ways to boost economic cooperation and trade between the United States and Africa. Regional Economic Communities, the private sector, and civil society are also participating.
Speaking during the opening ceremony at Hotel Ivoire, Cocody, Côte d’Ivoire President, H.E Alassane Ouattara said, “The AGOA forum is a highlight in cooperation between African countries and the United States. The work of this edition should allow us to identify the voices and ways to strengthen and develop the business opportunities offered by AGOA to generate inclusive growth for our countries.”
He thanked the American authorities as well as those of the other participating AGOA countries for the confidence they placed in Côte d’Ivoire by entrusting him with the organization of this 18th edition.
The theme of this year’s Forum is “AGOA and the Future: Developing a New Trade Paradigm to Guide U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment.”
“With AGOA Africa is more integrated with world trade. For 20 years, AGOA allows thousands of companies to export duty-free to the United States,” said the US Deputy Representative for Trade CJ Mahoney”
Adding that, “The United States will always support this cooperation, through the Zlecaf, Free Trade Area.” The United States and the AU will work together to make the Zlecaf a success.”
The AGOA 2019 Forum helps explore new tools that both the U.S. and African governments have developed over the past year and how to use them most effectively. It has also helped highlight the important role played by women, youth, civil society, and the private sector in promoting trade, expanding economic growth, and generating prosperity.
Head of Ugandan Delegation Hon. Amelia Kyambadde who is represented at the forum by Mrs Susan Muhwezi observed that: “It is our ‘Made in Africa’ initiative and we have the opportunity in these proceedings to align AGOA and all our external initiatives so as to enable us speak with one voice and to build the Africa we want.”
The African Growth and Opportunity Act, which enhances access to the U.S. market for most products of qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, has been the cornerstone of the U.S. government’s trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa since 2000. The law mandates that each year a special Forum be convened to discuss issues related to the implementation of the law and issues of economic cooperation and trade in general. The Forum location alternates between the United States and Africa. Previous AGOA Forum hosts include Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Senegal, Togo and Zambia.