TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

AGOA Forum: Continent's upheavals hinder AGOA goals

Friday, 10 June 2011

Source: Times of Zambia

Zambia President Rupiah Banda has said that political instability in some African countries has led to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)’s goals of expanding economies not being realised.

The President said that if political instability were to be avoided, African countries should strengthen the tenets of democracy as well as good governance practices.?Speaking when he officially opened the 10th AGOA ministerial conference in Lusaka yesterday, President Banda said there was need for the benefits of AGOA to trickle down to the respective economies of Africa.?“I would like to indicate that some African nations are not represented here today because of on-going socio-political instability. This reality reminds us all that the economic dividends we seek from AGOA can be best realised when all African countries strengthen and entrench sound democratic practices and uphold good governance.

“Peace and security within and across borders are twin imperatives that all of us must not fail to work for,” President Banda said.?The AGOA summit is held under a theme: ‘Enhanced Trade through Increased Competitiveness, Value Addition and Deeper Regional Integration’.?President Banda said he was happy that the United State government has accepted to extend the AGOA beyond 2015, saying the development was evidence of America’s commitment to improving the economies of Africa.?Mr Banda also said that Zambia was in full support of the new proposal entitled Enterprise for Development: A new Policy Approach Toward Africa.

The essence of the proposal was to call for the extension of AGOA’s exclusive duty and quota free access to the American market for African goods and the extension of AGOA to 2025.?As such, he said that Zambia was looking forward to the benefits that would be derived from the extension of AGOA.?He said that enhanced trade with value addition particularly in the context of regional integration was the preferred direction for Zambia as well as the entire continent.?President Banda said that he was happy that the summit has brought together Africans and the US private and business sector so as to promote trade, business and investment opportunities meant at improving the African economies.?“The forum is taking pace against the backdrop of the recent global financial crisis that affected us all. In terms of direct adverse impact on financial structures sub Saharan Africa survived relatively unscathed.

“Here in Zambia we saw prices of our main export copper drop to under US$3,000 a tone. The ripple effects of the financial crunch were felt across Africa reducing export revenue and slowing down fulfillment of development aid pledges,” Mr Banda said.?He said that Zambia was happy with the efforts of the United States was making in stabilising the global economy.?President Banda said that the US was among the G8 countries that during the crunch opposed protectionism and embraced free trade.?“Zambia is therefore most appreciative of this rare opportunity to host the ministerial forum which will serve to broaden horizons of trade between African nations and the United States,” Mr Banda said.

Since inception, President Banda said that AGOA has led to the creation of many jobs in the sub Saharan Africa. So far he said that more than 300,000 jobs have been created in Africa with US 300 billion in export earning and close to US$300 billion in non oil exports to?Africa at minimal cost to the US taxpayers.?“I would like to see more agricultural products, especially processed goods find their way onto the American market shelves. Zambia has just?completed harvesting their second record bumper harvest of 3 million tones. And we desperately need to find export market for some of this maize,” President Banda said.?Later, the President toured some exhibition stands.




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