The Biden-led administration is currently engaging with stakeholders for the possible extension of the United States’ government Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA to 2041.
The AGOA is a trade agreement that was enacted in 2000 to provide eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for a wide range of products. The AGOA has been a boon to African economies, helping to boost exports, create jobs, and attract investment.
The current AGOA authorization expires in 2025, and there is strong support on both sides of the Atlantic for an extension. The Biden administration has made it a priority to strengthen U.S.-Africa relations, and an extension of AGOA would be a significant step in that direction.
There are a number of different proposals for how to extend AGOA. Some are calling for a simple two-year extension, while others are pushing for a longer extension, perhaps through 2041. There are also proposals to make some changes to the AGOA program, such as expanding the range of eligible products or countries, or providing more support for African businesses to take advantage of the program.
United States Senator, Chris Coons, a democrat and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has sponsored a bill that seeks to integrate AGOA and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which includes the majority of African nations.
According to a draft version of the bill, the program would maintain benefits for countries as they grow wealthier, allowing them to remain until they are determined to be high-income for five years, instead of removing them if they reach that threshold for a single year.
The talks on extending AGOA are still ongoing, and it is not clear what the final outcome will be. However, there is a strong hope that the AGOA program will be extended, and that it will continue to play an important role in promoting economic growth and development in Africa.
Some analyst have shared some of the benefits of AGOA, while pushing for the extension of the program:
- Increased exports: AGOA has helped to boost African exports to the United States. In 2021, AGOA-eligible countries exported over $35 billion worth of goods to the United States. This represents a significant increase from the $8 billion in exports in 2000, when AGOA was first enacted.
- Job creation: AGOA has helped to create jobs in Africa. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that AGOA has created over 300,000 jobs in Africa. These jobs are often in high-paying sectors, such as manufacturing and services.
- Attracted investment: AGOA has helped to attract investment to Africa. Foreign direct investment in Africa has increased from $30 billion in 2000 to over $50 billion in 2021. This investment is helping to build new industries and create jobs in Africa.