Tuesday , August 16 2022

AGOA: Towards Africa's Prosperity – NewsDay Zimbabwe



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Ambassador Nagi: And to emphasize what Connie said, I last met with the highest levels of the Zimbabwe Government in Maputo just a few weeks ago to have a very, very frank and honest conversation about the conditions in Zimbabwe.
The critics
AGOA is not without its critics. Adding to the debate over increased trade relations with Africa in China that has surpassed the United States over the last decade, AGOA has been criticized for preferring the United States more than benefiting from African countries.
The United States program has also received criticism for allowing the President of the United States as the sole authority and authority to decide on the admissibility of the country and its termination. In the case of Zimbabwe, there is an opportunity for groups and lobbyists with a special interest to influence one way or another in the decision. Whether Minister of Foreign Affairs Sibusiso B Moyo and President Emmerson Mnangagwa will succeed in engaging the US at the highest level remains to be seen.
In terms of jobs for young people, the country has over 80% unemployment. With economic reform policies developing textiles and clothing and innovative exporters that could gain a competitive advantage – Zimbabwe can become a textile hub, promote Zimbabwe-made apparel and the employment process of its a thriving youth population.
Regarding the economic commitment of the continent of Hamilton, responsible for the development and progress of US bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives to enhance US trade and economic cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa, he emphasized: "For almost two decades, the AGOA has the cornerstone of the United States' economic commitment to sub-Saharan Africa, and in the meantime, we have invested heavily to help African countries make better use of AGOA, including creating o Shopping centers as resources for African businesses and entrepreneurs and allocating more than $ 7 billion to trade capacity initiatives. "

In terms of what could change this, Hamilton encouraged states to create business conditions. Among other factors, the most serious trade barriers to Zimbabwe are strong corruption, institutional difficulties and weak financial institutions.

However, with respect to the goals of socio-economic, political and structural reforms or agro-industrial, industrial and infrastructure development, the public may not be aware of how a country demonstrates that it is "continuing to progress".

She further explained that: "In AGOA, for example, in the apparel sector, we receive about $ 1 billion annually from Africa, but this is approximately 1% of the $ 95 billion in global clothing imports. In order to maximize AGOA, countries must take an active role in creating competitive conditions in which companies, entrepreneurs and farmers can thrive. "

Africa's trade with China, on the other hand, has grown sharply since it outperformed the United States as Africa's largest trading partner in 2009, with African countries also enjoying better trade relations with the European Union, and India has been increasing its economic agreements in recent years .Sadc countries

All Sadc Member States are eligible for AGOA, with three exceptions; Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar. Madagascar's membership is currently suspended after the coup led by Antananarivo's former mayor, Andri Rayolina. The main export categories include minerals and metals, as well as transport equipment including mainly motor vehicles from South Africa. Three countries – Nigeria, South Africa and Angola – dominate total exports; most of the exports to the US are from Nigeria and Angola and cars from South Africa. Corruption, a poor manufacturing infrastructure that hinders the competitiveness of African products, remains the biggest obstacles.

It remains unclear how the US Congress and the US President will address the future of AGOA – beyond 2025 – with significant factors that have long constrained US-Africa trade flows. But a new paradigm is needed and African countries need to innovate and initiate new foreign trade policies, bilateral and regional block agreements.

Long-term: African countries will need to evaluate how they will support their trade, and the United States will have access to markets without AGOA. In exports – machinery, vehicles, chemical products and milling products – US exports to Zimbabwe in 2018 are $ 34 million, up 14.9% ($ 6 million) from 2017 and again 63.4% from 2008 United States imports from Zimbabwe amount to $ 75 million in 2018, up 60.7% ($ 28 million) from 2017, but down 32.6% from 2008 – iron and steel ($ 54 million), sugar ($ 6 million), coffee, tea and spices ($ 5 million), tobacco ($ 4 million), and nickel ($ 1 million). Other leading categories include raw beet and cane sugar ($ 6 million), tea ($ 5 million), tobacco ($ 4 million), baby products ($ 732,000) and spices ($ 476,000).

The Corporate Council for Africa and the World Bank could not be reached for comment.

EarPearl Matibe has geographical experience in US foreign policy, the impact of think tanks, strategy and public policy issues. You can follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe

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