US-Africa summit starts in South Africa to discuss trade, development

South Africa flag Irobiko Chimezie

Several African ministers and US officials gathered in the South African city of Johannesburg Thursday for a three-day meeting of the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade forum.

AGOA is a special US legislation signed into law in 2000, granting duty-free access to nearly 40 sub-Saharan African countries to the US markets.

The sub-Saharan countries that qualify for AGOA have to meet certain criteria such as maintaining human rights, respecting core labor standards, and eliminating barriers to US trade and investment among others.

The theme for this year’s summit is “Partnering to Build a Resilient, Sustainable, and Inclusive AGOA to Support Economic Development, Industrialization and Quality Job Creation.”

The African leaders at the summit are expected to lobby US envoys to extend the AGOA tenure that expires in 2025.

The meeting is also expected to discuss promoting inclusive economic growth and supply chain resilience on both sides of the Atlantic.

The US announced earlier this week it intends to eliminate Uganda, Niger, Gabon, and the Central African Republic from the AGOA for failing to uphold the forum’s eligibility criteria.

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