TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US Republican Royce Applauds Senate's Passage of AGOA Extension

The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation congratulates the U.S. Congress for approving the latest African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) legislation. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote last night, and the House of Representatives passed the bill, also by voice vote, last week. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the new AGOA into law after the July 4th holiday.

"This legislation indicates the extraordinary attention now being placed on U.S.-Africa by the American government and the American people," said Hope Sullivan, President and CEO of the Sullivan Foundation. "Americans have come to see how important Africa is to us, and we are now acting accordingly."

This third version of AGOA was developed to enhance the beneficial effects of the original legislation, which was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in May 2000. Since its inception, total U.S.-Africa trade has risen to just under $33 billion. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa were 42% larger than those to the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, the United States is sub-Saharan Africa's largest single-country export market.

Due to AGOA, the United States is the single-nation leader in foreign direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa at more than $8.9 billion. AGOA calls for the President to facilitate investment in eligible sub-Saharan African countries in infrastructure projects, particularly roads, rails and port. This legislation also calls for investment in expansion of modern information and communications technologies, as well as in the agriculture sector where about 70% of Africans earn their living.

"The broader purpose of AGOA is to encourage sub-Saharan African nations to diversify their economies, reduce poverty and take their rightful place in the global economy," said Ms. Sullivan. "The overall result will be to strengthen a group of important potential U.S. trading partners."

The late Rev. Leon Sullivan long promoted American investment in African nations through the biannual African-African-American Summits. The Sullivan Foundation, established in 2002, is continuing the effort to expand on American investment in Africa. A conference on such investment will be presented in Washington in October, and the next Leon H. Sullivan Summit will feature a major U.S. investment program. The seventh Summit will be held in Durban, South Africa, from July 18-21, 2005.