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‘Lack of Political Will Affecting the African Growth and Opportunity Act’

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The lack of political will among African leaders has been identified as a major challenge facing member countries in exploiting the full benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Passed by the United States of America, AGOA seeks to expand trade and investment between U.S.A. and sub-Saharan Africa.

Member countries, including Ghana, are said to be struggling to explore the various opportunities that exist under AGOA.

Speaking at the AGOA capacity-building and skills development workshop in Accra, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen urged beneficiary countries to exhibit commitment towards the realisation of AGOA.

He said: “Most African governments seem to have spent time and energy and efforts on just qualifying to become AGOA beneficiaries as an end in itself, as if when you get the certificate that alone is enough.

“Now you struggle to qualify, they give you the certificate and then you sit back.

“There is not enough political commitment and political will on the sides of African countries to actually take advantage of AGOA. How many times do you hear our leaders even talk about AGOA as a major development initiative?

“So, when you go back home, tell your leaders that you want to see commitment of government to ensure that your country takes advantage of AGOA.”

Mr Kyerematen also encouraged the private sector to show interest and take advantage of opportunities available under AGOA.

He also called for an effective coordination between U.S. development agencies and organisations with regards to what they are willing to offer for the growth and implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

According to him, although AGOA seeks to expand trade investment between the U.S.A. and sub-Saharan Africa, U.S. organisations must come clear on their resources in supporting AGOA on the continent.

He said: “I’m using this opportunity also to request for more effective coordination between U.S. development agencies and organisations in terms of what they offer to assist in the implementation of AGOA.

“The legislation is a market access opportunity but there are many U.S. agencies that are doing great work in terms of supporting our countries or development agenda and they are: USAID, US Exim Bank, US Trade and Development Agency, GDA, the Department of Agriculture, and, so, many agencies doing great things.

“But what we are suggesting to the U.S. government is that, since this is their landmark legislation in support of Africa, let us see how these agencies coordinate their efforts and resources to support the implementation of AGOA in African countries.

“We call on the African Union to coordinate their effort more efficiently and more effectively in terms of how they support member states to take advantage of AGOA.”

Source: ClassFMonline

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