South Africa hosts AGOA Summit

By Koketso Mamabolo

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been a critical feature of US-Africa trade relations over the past two decades, providing businesses on the continent with access to the US market. This year’s AGOA Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg, from 2 – 4 November, comes at a time when economic relations between Africa and the rest of the world have been in the spotlight.

In 2022, the flow of goods between the US and Africa reached $46.5-billion, $30-billion of which came from the 35 eligible countries, continuing the trend of a trade surplus in favour of the African countries. The Act covers almost 2 000 products, offering dutyfree access to African businesses. AGOA’s importance to US-Africa trade relations was highlighted by the US Congress extending the programme to 2025.

“The future is Africa,” said US President Joe Biden, speaking about this year’s summit. “I look forward to visiting South Africa in November to discuss our shared priorities, reaffirm the Administration’s commitment to the continent and discuss opportunities to make AGOA more transformative as we deepen our trade and investment relations with the sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries.”

To be eligible for AGOA, countries need to meet various criteria aimed at developing the political and socio-economic landscape on the continent. At the core of it is a market-based economy, with political freedom, poverty alleviation and anti-corruption efforts among the other criteria. As the biggest user of AGOA, South Africa is a fitting host for the summit, registering almost $3-billion in trade in 2021. Nigeria comes in at second on the list with almost half that amount.

In a statement announcing South Africa as the host, Hon. Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry said, “AGOA has helped to promote the export of African goods to the United States, and we believe there is scope to deepen its impact on African industrialisation. An extension of AGOA beyond 2025 will promote inward investment in Africa and provide benefits to both the United States and African countries. It will also support our efforts to increase growth through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will cover 54 countries and 1.4 billion people.”

Top 5 AGOA Users

South Africa – $2.7-billion

Nigeria – $1.4-billion

Kenya – $522.7-million

Ghana – $324.6-million

Angola – $300-million

Read the Transport Month edition: