The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum kicks off in Johannesburg on Thursday. [Picture: SA Government]
Johannesburg will once again be the host city of a multilateral summit, this time as host of the 2023 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. Business and government delegates from the United States (US), South Africa (SA) and several African countries will gather at Nasrec on Thursday.
AGOA is a US Act that was passed by Congress in 2000, allowing businesses in 35 Sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US market. A time-bound law, it is set to expire in 2025.
Many are expected to push for an extension when around 2 000 delegates will gather in SA’s economic capital between 2-4 November.
Important trade partner
Speaking on the state of readiness, trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel said SA was the largest African exporter to the US market. He said it was laudable that South African companies were able to defy the odds and succeed in accessing the lucrative market.
“The US is also important as an overall trading partner and as SA’s second-largest national trading partner. In turn, we are the biggest market for American exports in Sub-Saharan Africa. The American market is a tough one to get into and to stay in because companies around the world compete to get a part of the world’s biggest market — and the fact that we are succeeding is great,” he said.
Meanwhile, just days before the AGOA Forum was set to get underway, US President Joe Biden announced the removal of at least four countries from the programme.
Citing non-eligibility in a letter to Congress Speaker, he said the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, Niger, and Uganda will be removed at the upcoming forum.