US keen to renew AGOA but utilisation worries persist

Grinding away: The country’s AGOA exports were previously anchored on textile and garment production. They have since moved to other sectors, such as jewellery
Grinding away: The country’s AGOA exports were previously anchored on textile and garment production. They have since moved to other sectors, such as jewellery

United States president, Joseph Biden’s administration is happy to renew its 23-year old trade deal with African states, but lawmakers who actually ‘hold the pen,’ are concerned about poor utilisation of the agreement, BusinessWeek has learnt.

The African Growth and Opportunities Act, more commonly known as AGOA, is a trade arrangement between the US and more than 30 sub-Saharan African countries, including Botswana. The agreement was established in 2000 and provides relaxed access to the American market for participating African states.

In March, a report by a United States agency, requested by legislators from that country, found that Botswana was among countries with the continent’s lowest exports under AGOA. Botswana’s utilisation rate of the trade arrangement fell from 100% to zero in the last decade, echoing, but considerably worse than, many other countries on the continent.

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