TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Ugandan Apparel Firm recruits 800 more Workers

Wednesday, 28 April 2004

Source: Embassy of Swaziland (Washington, DC)

Remarks by Prime Minister A.T. Dlamini of Swaziland at a 'Call to Action' breakfast and press conference organized by the Agoa 3 Action Committee, a coalition supporting extension and expansion of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) , at the Rayburn House Office Building, United States Congress.

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It gives me great pleasure to address such an august gathering that is meeting here today for a just course. In Africa, there are millions of our people who are living in poverty and their plight depends on the AGOA III passage.

SwazilandLadies and Gentlemen, I would like to pass my sincere gratitude to the AGOA III Action Committee and all other constituencies who are keeping the fire burning in Congress and advocating for a just course for the African Continent, in particular the BNLS countries.

I would also like to extend our gratitude to the Members of Congress for their efforts in facilitating the AGOA III Bill and further appeal to them to fast track the Legislative process.

SIGNIFICANCE OF AGOA

AGOA is a fantastic Legislation and its introduction has completely changed lives of our people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in Swaziland in particular.

In Swaziland AGOA has been a success story. We took the opportunity; Government invested a lot of money building factory shells for the private sector to take advantages of AGOA. Therefore if AGOA is not renewed in time all the investment will go down the drain, because investors will close shop and leave the country.

As I am speaking there are at least 28, 000 jobs that have been created under the auspices of AGOA. In fact AGOA increased job opportunities, and many business and economic activities in our country. In other words if the investors shut down their businesses the unemployment figures in the country will increase, thus reaching an alarming rate and this could cause social instability in the country, and the same would apply to the other African countries benefiting under AGOA.

There is no doubt that the establishment of new businesses has created a ripple effect to various service industries, social and economic stability.

The multiplier effects of AGOA have benefited more than 100,000 people in the country because it addresses poverty reduction and employment.

Through the introduction of AGOA Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly LDCs, have seen an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and diversified exports to the US market.

In the case of Swaziland, current statistics are indicating that there is a lot of trade that is taking place between the apparel industry and the market in the USA.

There is no doubt that AGOA has assisted LDCs to get to the main stream of the world economy. It is therefore against this background that we in Sub-Saharan Africa see AGOA as a poverty reduction strategy.

IMPORTANCE OF AGOA III

As I have alluded that AGOA has contributed in poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa, we find ourselves compelled to urge Congress to seriously consider, within the next few weeks, the Bill that is before the House and to give it the urgency that is deserves.

This a humble appeal to Congress because our major enemy is the clock that is ticking, whilst on the other hand, industry and American buyers are waiting for assurance that the Bill will be passed within a reasonable time frame.

We recognize and appreciate the bipartisan support that we have seen in the recent weeks which is an attempt to address the plight of the African countries, in particular the LDCs.

We in Sub-Saharan Africa we view this Bill as a Bill of Hope that will attempt to address a lot of challenges that are faced by our respective countries, which includes, amongst others Job creation, HIV/AIDS and poverty.

We note with great enthusiasm that this Bill is enshrined with some of the key elements which are in convergence with the aspirations of NEPAD, which is our own African initiative.

CONCLUSION

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think you are all in agreement with the African continent that AGOA is a Bill of hope that seeks to address job creation and poverty alleviation and HIV/AIDSin Africa.

Although AGOA III has a time frame, but we in LDCs, would have loved to see AGOA III going beyond 2007.

Another challenge that we are faced with is the Special Rule (i.e. third country fabric provision) which is coming to an end in December, 2004. Our countries have a problem of capacity and the non availability of fabric and other related materials required in the apparel industry within the BLNS countries.

Finally, the BLNS countries appreciates all the stakeholders that have prepared today's programme which is aimed at sensitizing those that are concerned in the Legislative process of making this Bill a reality within reasonable time frame.



“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of Swaziland’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include:

  • AGOA-beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.