Saturday, July 25, 2015

Africa Policy Forum features discussion on African Growth and Opportunity Act

Story and picture courtesy of Office of Representative Karen Bass

On July 16, 2015, Congressmember Karen Bass hosted an Africa Policy Forum to discuss the expansion of trade relationships with Sub-Saharan Africa after the 10-year reauthorization of AGOA. The panel consisted of Constance Hamilton, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Ambassador Michael Moussa-Adamo of Gabon, Walker A. Williams, President & CEO of Leadership Africa, USA and Mori Diane, Executive Vice-President of AMEX international.

The event was attended by more than 120 people including various representatives from the African diplomatic corps, business leaders, and Congressmen Charles Rangel and Chaka Fattah.

The reauthorization of AGOA builds upon the original legislation passed in 2000 by continuing a mutually beneficial trade partnership between African countries and the United States. AGOA has generated approximately 100,000 jobs in the US and over 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs in sub-Saharan Africa.

The panel discussed various implementation and advocacy strategies around the reauthorization of AGOA. Constance Hamilton stated that the Obama administration will continue to look at efficient ways to implement this legislation. Ms. Hamilton also stressed the need for the private sector to take initiative and adjust business strategies to best capitalize on the relationship.

Walker Williams also added AGOA should supplement a larger economic development strategy in Africa. Mr. Williams stressed the need for infrastructure improvement such as reliable electricity to stimulate trade activity.

The annual African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum will take place in Libreville, Gabon next month to continue the dialogue between African companies and US trade representatives.

View photos and video here.

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