#Article (Archive)

Who is benefiting in the AGOA equation?

Dec 30, 2014, 10:46 AM

We have got to know that as at 2014 the top five beneficiary countries ofthe African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), signed into law in 2000, were Angola, Nigeria, South Africa, Chad, and Gabon. Other leading AGOA beneficiaries included Kenya, Lesotho, and Mauritius.

Whilst this is the situation for some other countries, US-Gambia trade value has been something else.

Between January and March 2014 the value of US exports to The Gambia stood at US$10.79 million from US$6.77 million in the same period in 2013.

On the other hand, the value of US imports from The Gambia in the same period stood at US$0.10 million in 2014 from US$0.06 million in 2013, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000.

The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.

However, eligibility under AGOA and receiving its benefits are tied to making continual progress towards establishing market-based economies; the rule of law and political pluralism; elimination of barriers to US trade and investment; protection of intellectual property; efforts to combat corruption; policies to reduce poverty, increasing availability of health care and educational opportunities; protection of human rights and worker rights; and elimination of certain child labour practices.

These criteria, according to the ITA, “have been embraced overwhelmingly by the vast majority of African nations, which are striving to achieve the objectives although none is expected to have fully implemented the entire list”.

The Gambia being the 37th AGOA eligible country, since 2003, “has never benefited” from the Act, according to Gambia government’s statement aired on state TV at the weekend,in reaction to the US government’s announcement that The Gambiahas been removed from the list of eligible sub-Saharan countries under AGOA.

So who is benefiting in the AGOA equation?

Robert Reich