AGOA role in Africa's structural transformation, development vital
The African Union (AU) Commissioner and Ambassador, Albert Muchanga, says the African growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is important to the continent’s structural transformation and development.
Muchanga addressed the African Trade Minister's Consultative meeting on the first day of the AGOA Forum in Johannesburg in South Africa (SA) this Thursday.
SA President, Cyril Ramaphosa, will deliver the keynote address at the official opening of the forum Friday morning.
Government, labour, business and civil society leaders from across Africa and the United States (US) are among delegates attending this event.
Muchanga singled out the impact of the scheme across the continent's transformation and development sector, while also urging the US administration for a 10 - 20-year extension of AGOA.
“We urge for the extension of AGOA from 10-20 years, underlining the fact that such an extension, directs and encourage investments. And also underlying the fact that there are enhancements to be done, and should be done after the extension,” Muchanga said.
“I think all of us agree it is very much important to Africa's structural transformation and export development and devastation, while Minister (Ibrahim) Patel indicated the range of manufacturing activities that are emerging across Africa and to take advantage of the AGOA scheme. Let us make full use of it, and since its inception the net record has that Africa has not fully made use of the AGOA preference scheme.”
The event is being hosted by SA's Department of Trade and Industry, which is led Patel.
Patel emphasised Africa's readiness for industrialisation, as a young continent. “Africa is redefining its role in the world. We are young in Africa, ready to. Embrace the challenge of industrialisation and over the next three days, we hope to be able to pursue that objective through a number of related and interlocking activities,” said Patel.
The event is comprised of 13 activities, including a fashion show and traders’ exhibition. While most of the sessions will be closed to the media, Patel outlines the programme for the duration of the Forum.
“It starts at 9H00 CAT, here in this precinct and will consist of an opening plenary addressed by His Excellency Ramaphosa and a number of dignitaries, including the US Trade Representative Catherine Tai.
“Over the course of that forum, will have three further plenaries focusing on an assessment of a goal where African trade ministers can give their impressions, what has worked, what have the challenges been. There'll be an engagement with congressional staffers, messages from congress representatives. We had originally wanted the House of Representatives to be here, but given the challenge that the American Congressional system faced with the absence of a Speaker, they have sent their apologies.
“They are all huddled down in Washington, trying to broker a deal on budget that would keep the American administration going.”
Africa hopes that by the end of this three day event. There will be some form of direction on the extension for a period of 20 years, which the US Congress is currently dealing with.