USAID helps stimulate AGOA benefits TRADE program
The U.S. Agency for International Development is assisting the Bush Administration’s plan to increase trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa through several programs.
The United States attempted to open trade with economically depressed sub-Saharan Africa through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). However, AGOA’s benefits have been slow to take off.
“USAID is at the forefront of the USG’s (U.S. government’s) commitment to better the economic landscape in helping reduce poverty,” testified Barry Newman, the agency’s assistant administrator for Africa Constance, on March 25 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
USAID’s biggest AGOA-related program is the Trade for African Development and Enterprise (TRADE) initiative. TRADE operates primarily through three hubs located in Ghana, Botswana, and Kenya. USAID works with the Commerce Department, U.S. Trade Representative, Trade and Development Agency, and Department of Agriculture at these hubs.
“A wide range of activities is underway in each of the hubs to support AGOA, including — establishing business contacts and generating business opportunities for hand- and machine-loomed textiles and apparel, and removing infrastructure constraints that hamper trade,” Newman said.
For example, USAID’s regional mission in East Africa supports efforts to harmonize customs and trade facilitation policies, such as creating a “one-stop” border post at the Malaba/Torero border between Kenya and Uganda.
In West Africa, USAID is helping to develop a “road tracker” system to trace the movement of goods between countries in the Tema-Ouagdougou-Bamako/Niamey corridor, Newman said.
USAID is also providing funds to place USDA advisors at its three hubs to coordinate pest risk assessments and to facilitate the development of markets for agricultural products. USAID and USDA plan to have these advisors in place by the spring of 2004.