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Welcome to the AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network Site!!!


The AGOA Civil Society (CSO) Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), small-to-medium sized business representatives, chambers of commerce and other groups in the United States and Africa that are interested in the successful application of AGOA for the benefit of the US and African people.

The Network was established by 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix,  Mauritius.

The AGOA CSO Network's focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.


 



Currently 39 of the 49 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries are eligible for AGOA benefits








Testimony In Support Of AGOA Eligibility For The Democratic Republic Of Congo

By Fred Oladeinde,

Washington, DC — Good morning Chairman Treat, and members of the implementation Subcommittee.

I come before this honorable committee, today, representing members of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network in the United States and across sub-Saharan Africa, including, the 39 currently AGOA eligible countries, to testify in support of the petitions of the people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to become a beneficiary sub- Saharan African country after having been suspended by the President of the United States pursuant to section 506 A (a) (3) of the Trade Act of 1974 on January 1, 2011.

[CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL TESTIMONY]



Testimony in Support of the Petition for
2020 Eligibility of The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) As a Beneficiary Sub-Saharan African Country
For the Purpose of Section 506A of the Trade Act of 1974


Good morning Chairman Treat, and members of the implementation Subcommittee, I come before this honorable committee, today, representing members of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network in the United States and across sub-Saharan Africa, including, the 39 currently AGOA eligible countries, to testify in support of the petitions of the people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to become a beneficiary sub- Saharan African country after having been suspended by the President of the United States pursuant to section 506 A (a) (3) of the Trade Act of 1974 on January 1, 2011.

My name is Fred Olagoke Oladeinde, and I am Chairman of the AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO)Network Secretariat www.agoacsonetwork.org The AGOA CSO Network is a consortium of non- governmental organizations (NGO’s), micro, small to medium-sized businesses, chambers of commerce and various other groups and individuals in the United States and Africa that are committed to the useful application of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for the benefits of American and African people. The AGOA CSO Network’s focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African products under AGOA, and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on the benefits of AGOA.

The CSO Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix, Mauritius.

Mr. Chairman, and members, specifically, I am here to support petitions presented to this honorable committee by: Reverend Milenge Mwenelwata, President, AGOA Civil Society Network Chapter in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Dr. Ngoie Joel Nshisso, International Business and Management Consultant, and member, AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat on behalf of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the call letter to President Donald J. Trump that was submitted by Richie Lontulungu, Executive Director, Higher Academy of the Congolese Civil Society.

The said petitions clearly state pertinent details of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s AGOA history, designated as AGOA eligible by President Bill Clinton in 2003, and terminated as a beneficiary sub- Saharan African country by President Barak Obama on January 1, 2011, due to human rights violation, specifically, for the use of child soldiers and sexual violence as a weapon of war.

The extent of verifiable and compelling information provided by the three mentioned organizations regarding DRC’s advancement since being terminated from the list of AGOA eligible sub-Saharan African countries, coupled with democratic gains made in DRC in the last two years, including, the peaceful transfer of power from opposition leader Joseph Kabila Kabange to Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo in January of 2019 are major milestones and substantiate the fact the DRC has made continual progress in meeting requirements outlined in section 506A(a)(1) of the 1974 Trade Act. And at every step along the way, DRC’s advancement was encouraged and supported by members of the Congolese civil society across the 26 provinces of one of the largest and most resource rich nations in the world.

According to Dr. Reverend Milenge Mwenelwata’s testimony, “All the reforms implemented since the Democratic Republic of Congo’s exclusion from AGOA have had a great impact on improving the political, judicial, economic, security and human rights situation. In regards to sexual violence, the primary cause of the country’s exclusion from AGOA, DRC’s Head of State appointed a Special Representative to combat sexual violence and that representative’s work led to DRC being removed from the United Nations’ blacklist of sexual abuser nations.

As to human rights at large, the reforms in place have significantly reduced the intensity of armed conflicts and armed groups’ activities that use to be the main driving force behind massive human rights violations, especially, sexual violence. The reforms have also led to the establishment of a national body (CNDH) to consistently monitor those violations. The drafting and passing of laws that promote and protect human rights; the decrease in human rights violation rate nationwide; the ending of arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions along with cruel and ill-treatment during detention; the fresh wave of more freedoms, including, the freedom of press and expression, freedom of assemblies and public demonstrations; and the progress made in respect to child and workers’ rights have had a great impact on the country’s progression.”

For example:

1.    March 2019 release by presidential pardon of 700 prisoners, including, Mr. Firmin Yangambi, a human rights activist and lawyer arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010 for illegally retaining war weapons and attempting to organize an insurgency; and Mr. Frank Diongo, an opposition leader arrested in 2016, and charged with kidnapping by the Kabila regime.

2.         The closing of secret (undercover)prisons

3.        The return of political opponents from exile

4.        The freedom of expression and the reopening of closed news stations

5.    The reestablishment of military cooperation between DRC, Belgium, France and the US

6.    The introduction of non-fee paying public education at the primary and secondary levels

7.    The creation of a special permanent body to combat corruption

8.    Strengthening measures for the eradication of armed groups in Eastern DRC

9.    The State’s commitment to fight the Ebola epidemic

10.  DRC membership into the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA0

11.  Market economy development and improvement of the business environment

12.  The implementation of a poverty reduction strategy

13.  The lifting of the ban on public demonstration

14.  The Establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH)

15.  Removal of DRC Defense Forces from UN blacklist of national armies using children in their ranks  August 2017

16.  Freely organized protest marches in Kinshasa by workers in March and April 2019

17.  Increase in daily minimum wage from $1.00 to $4.25

Taking into account the above accomplishments and others, DRC deserves and is qualified to be reintegrated into the list of AGOA eligible countries. The country’s reintegration will be beneficial to both the DRC and the U.S.A, as well as, to eligible sub-Saharan countries.

As an American election observer during the December 2018 elections in DRC that resulted in the peaceful transfer of power, 60 years after DRC’s independence, I had the opportunity to engage with political, NGO and business leaders, and I am optimistic about the sustainability of the political reforms on going in the country.

Mr. Chairman, and members, We, the American people must support the expansion of free enterprise in DRC, today, so that ongoing political reforms can result in the creation of good paying jobs for the people of DRC; improvement in the social and economic conditions of the Congolese people, and the advancement of US-Africa trade and economic cooperation. Reinstatement of AGOA benefits will go a long way in helping Congolese businesses expand exports to the United States, and help Felix-Antoine Tsesekhedi Tshilombo’s administration succeed.

In March 2019, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network in partnership with the Christian Mutual Help Trade Union [Syndicate D’ Entraide Chretienne (S.E.C. asbl)], established a chapter of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and we are committed to advancing inclusive economic growth and development that assists in the advancement of peace and prosperity throughout the country.

After careful consideration of the facts on the ground, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat, hereby respectfully requests that this honorable committee grant the petitions of the people and the Government of the Democratic of the Congo for re-instatement of the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act as of 2020.

I thank you for the opportunity to present my testimony, today, and ask that my full presentation be submitted for the record.

Fred Olagoke Oladeinde
Chairman
AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network Secretariat 1200 G Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-331-1333 Fax: 202-436-9477
Website:
 www.agoacsonetwork.org
Email: comments@democracy-africa.org


President Donald J. Trump

The Whitehouse
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20005


Dear President Trump,


The African Growth and Opportunity Act, Civil Society Organization Network (AGOA CSO Network) is an American institution dedicated to upholding American values, including, the promotion of Free Enterprise, Freedom of Assembly, and Freedom of Speech, principles that are embedded in the United States (U.S.) Constitution, in conjunction with the advancement of eligibility criteria outlined in the AGOA legislation - passed into law in 2000; currently scheduled to sunset in 2025; and the  U.S.’ CONERSTONE policy with the 49 countries of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).

The AGOA CSO Network Secretariat was established by the more than 100 civil society leaders and organizations during the first AGOA Forum hosted in Africa in 2003; with the mandate of organizing Civil Society Organization Sessions of subsequent AGOA Forums in consultation with government and the private sector with the full participation of all civil society stakeholders. From that time, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat has coordinated, participated in and promoted the CSO Session of the US-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also commonly known as the AGOA Forum).

Mr. President, since the passage of AGOA in 2000, two-way trade between the U. S.  and SSA has increased more than fivefold, and economic cooperation between both continents has advanced.  At every step along this journey, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat and its members have played  an important role in advancing the legislation, advocating for its renewal, and outreach in the United States, including: supporting  the passage of the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, which extends the benefits of AGOA through 2025, as well as, advocating for reforms across SSA to sustain eligibility requirements on the African side.

The Network Secretariat applauded the unveiling of your Administration’s new Africa Strategy, “Prosper Africa” by National Security Advisor, Ambassador John R. Bolton on December 13, 2018, during a meeting at The Heritage Foundation. We, the AGOA CSO Network, highly praised your Administration’s commitment to this new Africa Strategy that was crafted to “advance peace, stability, independence and prosperity in the region”; believe that this new strategy supports gains made by civil society organizations over the last 17 years in advancing US-Sub-Saharan Africa trade and economic cooperation, and these gains are applicable to reinforcing “Prosper Africa”.

Hence, we the undersigned members, partners and friends are very concerned and surprised by the sudden changes in policy by your Administration to restrict Civil Society Organization’s contributions and support for U.S.- Africa policy. We call on you to ask your Secretary of State, and U. S. Trade Representative to reverse hostile decisions that are being implemented by members of thier staff that are responsible for the planning of the 18th US-Africa Trade and Economic Forum (also known as the AGOA Forum) slated for Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire in the coming weeks, and to reverse the following:

1.  Direct interference, by Department of State and the host country Government in managing the agenda, list of speakers and coordination of CSO Session of the AGOA Forum with the exception of accrediting CSO delegates to the Ministerial/Official Forum

2.   The State Department, and the host country denying civil society members from non- AGOA eligible countries accreditation to the Official Ministerial Forum, as well as the CSO Session of the Forum (as of the 2019 Forum)

3.   Deleting of the read-out by civil society organizations on the agenda and during the Official Ministerial Forum on August 5, 2019, and "busing" a few delegates to the venue on August 4th, the day before the Official Ministerial Forum, the State Department, and the host Government as is scheduled to take place

4.   The State Department, and the host country denying Civil Society the right to assemble during the Forum, by restricting civil society organizations to a limited one-day event, the day relegated as the official CSO Session day.

 5.  The State Department, inter agencies and host country restrictingthe AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat’s ability to manage our member’s affairs during the CSO Session of the US-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (aka AGOA Forum) 

Mr. President, we believe that for “Prosper Africa” to succeed, civil society organizations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, MUST be FULLY ENGAGED as “FOOT SOLDIERS” at grass roots level - advocating and educating for the sustainable political reform that is required and will assist in advancing PEACE, STABILITY, INDEPENDENCE and PROSPERITY IN THE REGION.  Today, only 39 of the 49 SSA countries are eligible for AGOA benefits, by encouraging civil society organizations, particularly, members from NON-ELIGIBLE countries to attend and learn best practices from members from eligible countries and US officials, we can increase the number of AGOA eligible countries, improve the retention rate of the number of  countries on the eligibility list, and thereby increase U.S. – Africa trade.

Government control of the Civil Society Session of the annual AGOA Forum must remain limited to accreditation of delegates to the Official/Ministerial Forum.  The widely accepted analogy of the “Three- Legged Stool,” that denotes equal, but, separate participation by Civil Society; the  Private Sector and Government during the annual AGOA Forum, and as mandated by Congress, must be respected and abided by all governments associated with the planning for the annual Forum, including: the right to assemble and freedom to organize by civil society organizations.

We are counting on your support for the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network, its members and the rights of civil society as outlined by the Constitution of the U.S. during your Presidency. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

Fred O. Oladeinde

Chairman, The AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat

Attachment: List of Signatories

Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, Civil Society Organization Network (AGOA CSO Network) is an American institution dedicated to upholding American values, including, the promotion of Free Enterprise, Freedom of Assembly, and Freedom of Speech, principles that are embedded in the United States (U.S.) Constitution, in conjunction with the advancement of eligibility criteria outlined in the AGOA legislation - passed into law in 2000; currently scheduled to sunset in 2025; and the  U.S.’ CONERSTONE policy with the 49 countries of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). 

The AGOA CSO Network Secretariat was established by the more than 100 civil society leaders and organizations during the first AGOA Forum hosted in Africa in 2003; with the mandate of organizing Civil Society Organization Sessions of subsequent AGOA Forums in consultation with government and the private sector with the full participation of all civil society stakeholders. From that time, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat has coordinated, participated in and promoted the CSO Session of the US-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also commonly known as the AGOA Forum).

Mr. Secretary, since the passage of AGOA in 2000, two-way trade between the U. S. and SSA has increased more than fivefold, and economic cooperation between both continents has advanced.  At every step along this journey, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat and its members have played  an important role in advancing the legislation, advocating for its renewal, and outreach in the United States, including: supporting  the passage of the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, which extends the benefits of AGOA through 2025, as well as, advocating for reforms across SSA to sustain eligibility requirements on the African side.

The Network Secretariat applauded the unveiling of the Trump Administration’s new Africa Strategy, “Prosper Africa” by National Security Advisor, Ambassador John R. Bolton on December 13, 2018, during a meeting at The Heritage Foundation. We, the AGOA CSO Network, highly praised  the Administration’s commitment to this new Africa Strategy that was crafted to “advance peace, stability, independence and prosperity in the region”; believe that this new strategy supports gains made by civil society organizations over the last 17 years in advancing US-Sub-Saharan Africa trade and economic cooperation, and these gains are applicable to reinforcing “Prosper Africa”.

Hence, we the undersigned members, partners and friends are very concerned and surprised by the sudden changes in policy by your staff to restrict Civil Society Organization’s contributions and support for U.S.- Africa policy. We call on you to reverse the hostile decisions that are being implemented by members of your staff that are responsible for the planning of the 18th US-Africa Trade and Economic Forum (also known as the AGOA Forum) slated for Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire in the coming weeks, and to reverse the following:

1.  Direct interference, by Department of State and the host country Government in managing the agenda, list of speakers and coordination of CSO Session of the AGOA Forum with the exception of accrediting CSO delegates to the Ministerial/Official Forum

2.   The State Department, and the host country denying civil society members from non- AGOA eligible countries accreditation to the Official Ministerial Forum, as well as the CSO Session of the Forum (as of the 2019 Forum)

3.   Deleting of the read-out by civil society organizations on the agenda and during the Official Ministerial Forum on August 5, 2019, and "busing" a few delegates to the venue on August 4th, the day before the Official Ministerial Forum, the State Department, and the host Government as is scheduled to take place

4.   The State Department, and the host country denying Civil Society the right to assemble during the Forum, by restricting civil society organizations to a limited one-day event, the day relegated as the official CSO Session day. 

5.  The State Department, inter agencies and host country restrictingthe AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat’s ability to manage our member’s affairs during the CSO Session of the US-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (aka AGOA Forum) 

Mr. Secretary, we believe that for “Prosper Africa” to succeed, civil society organizations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, MUST be FULLY ENGAGED as “FOOT SOLDIERS” at grass roots level - advocating and educating for the sustainable political reform that is required and will assist in advancing PEACE, STABILITY, INDEPENDENCE and PROSPERITY IN THE REGION.  Today, only 39 of the 49 SSA countries are eligible for AGOA benefits, by encouraging civil society organizations, particularly, members from NON-ELIGIBLE countries to attend and learn best practices from members from eligible countries and US officials, we can increase the number of AGOA eligible countries, improve the retention rate of the number of  countries on the eligibility list, and thereby increase U.S. – Africa trade.

Government control of the Civil Society Session of the annual AGOA Forum must remain limited to accreditation of delegates to the Official/Ministerial Forum.  The widely accepted analogy of the “Three- Legged Stool,” that denotes equal, but, separate participation by Civil Society; the  Private Sector and Government during the annual AGOA Forum, and as mandated by Congress, must be respected and abided by all governments associated with the planning for the annual Forum, including: the right to assemble and freedom to organize by civil society organizations.

We are counting on your support for the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network, its members and the rights of civil society as outlined by the Constitution of the U.S. during your tenure. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

Fred O. Oladeinde

Chairman, The AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat

Attachment: List of Signatories

Robert E. Lighthizer

United States Trade Representative (USTR)

Office of United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20508


Dear USTR Lighthizer,

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, Civil Society Organization Network (AGOA CSO Network) is an American institution dedicated to upholding American values, including, the promotion of Free Enterprise, Freedom of Assembly, and Freedom of Speech, principles that are embedded in the United States (U.S.) Constitution, in conjunction with the advancement of eligibility criteria outlined in the AGOA legislation - passed into law in 2000; currently scheduled to sunset in 2025; and the  U.S.’ CONERSTONE policy with the 49 countries of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).

The AGOA CSO Network Secretariat was established by the more than 100 civil society leaders and organizations during the first AGOA Forum hosted in Africa in 2003; with the mandate of organizing Civil Society Organization Sessions of subsequent AGOA Forums in consultation with government and the private sector with the full participation of all civil society stakeholders. From that time, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat has coordinated, participated in and promoted the CSO Session of the US-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also commonly known as the AGOA Forum).

Mr. Secretary, since the passage of AGOA in 2000, two-way trade between the U. S. and SSA has increased more than fivefold, and economic cooperation between both continents has advanced.  At every step along this journey, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat and its members have played  an important role in advancing the legislation, advocating for its renewal, and outreach in the United States, including: supporting  the passage of the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, which extends the benefits of AGOA through 2025, as well as, advocating for reforms across SSA to sustain eligibility requirements on the African side.

The Network Secretariat applauded the unveiling of the Trump Administration’s new Africa Strategy, “Prosper Africa” by National Security Advisor, Ambassador John R. Bolton on December 13, 2018, during a meeting at The Heritage Foundation. We, the AGOA CSO Network, highly praised  the Administration’s commitment to this new Africa Strategy that was crafted to “advance peace, stability, independence and prosperity in the region”; believe that this new strategy supports gains made by civil society organizations over the last 17 years in advancing US-Sub-Saharan Africa trade and economic cooperation, and these gains are applicable to reinforcing “Prosper Africa”.

Hence, we the undersigned members, partners and friends are very concerned and surprised by the sudden changes in policy by your staff to restrict Civil Society Organization’s contributions and support for U.S.- Africa policy. We call on you to reverse the hostile decisions that are being implemented by members of your staff that are responsible for the planning of the 18th US-Africa Trade and Economic Forum (also known as the AGOA Forum) slated for Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire in the coming weeks, and to reverse the following:


1.  Direct interference, by Department of State and the host country Government in managing the agenda, list of speakers and coordination of CSO Session of the AGOA Forum with the exception of accrediting CSO delegates to the Ministerial/Official Forum

2.   The State Department, and the host country denying civil society members from non- AGOA eligible countries accreditation to the Official Ministerial Forum, as well as the CSO Session of the Forum (as of the 2019 Forum)

3.   Deleting of the read-out by civil society organizations on the agenda and during the Official Ministerial Forum on August 5, 2019, and "busing" a few delegates to the venue on August 4th, the day before the Official Ministerial Forum, the State Department, and the host Government as is scheduled to take place

4.   The State Department, and the host country denying Civil Society the right to assemble during the Forum, by restricting civil society organizations to a limited one-day event, the day relegated as the official CSO Session day.

 5.  The State Department, inter agencies and host country restrictingthe AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat’s ability to manage our member’s affairs during the CSO Session of the US-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (aka AGOA Forum) 

We believe that for “Prosper Africa” to succeed, civil society organizations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, MUST be FULLY ENGAGED as “FOOT SOLDIERS” at grass roots level - advocating and educating for the sustainable political reform that is required and will assist in advancing PEACE, STABILITY, INDEPENDENCE and PROSPERITY IN THE REGION.  Today, only 39 of the 49 SSA countries are eligible for AGOA benefits, by encouraging civil society organizations, particularly, members from NON-ELIGIBLE countries to attend and learn best practices from members from eligible countries and US officials, we can increase the number of AGOA eligible countries, improve the retention rate of the number of  countries on the eligibility list, and thereby increase U.S. – Africa trade.

Government control of the Civil Society Session of the annual AGOA Forum must remain limited to accreditation of delegates to the Official/Ministerial Forum.  The widely accepted analogy of the “Three- Legged Stool,” that denotes equal, but, separate participation by Civil Society; the  Private Sector and Government during the annual AGOA Forum, and as mandated by Congress, must be respected and abided by all governments associated with the planning for the annual Forum, including: the right to assemble and freedom to organize by civil society organizations.

We are counting on your support for the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network, its members and the rights of civil society as outlined by the Constitution of the U.S. during your tenure. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

Fred O. Oladeinde

Chairman, The AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat

Attachment: List of Signatories

July 18, 2019

Washington, DC, USA 

Dear Members, Partners, Colleagues, and Friends:

Since 2003, the AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO)Network Secretariat has coordinated, participated in and promoted the CSO Session of the US-Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also commonly known as the AGOA Forum). This year, a new approach is being employed to organizing the upcoming CSO Session of the 2019 AGOA Forum - one of directive, rather liaison with civil society. From our vantage point, this new approach is limiting the voice of civil society, marginalizing their participation in the 2019 AGOA Forum and regressing US-Africa trade and economic cooperation. 

Furthermore, the AGOA CSO Network Secretariat started discussions with the Côte d' Ivoire Technical Organizatio n Committee in February of this year regarding providing technical assistance and planning for the CSO Session of the 18 th AGOA Forum. In March, the AGOA CSO Secretariat was formally invited to, Côte d’Ivoire to begin the planning process. Using its own financial resources, the Secretariat dispatched two of its members to Abidjan in March to conduct the advance mission. While on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire, the AGOA CSO Secretariat and the Ivorian Technical Organization Committee agreed that the AGOA CSO Secretariat would coordinate registration for the CSO Session and that fees from the registration would be used to defray the cost of the advance mission and costs associated with the Secretariat providing coordination and technical support while on the ground during the 18 th AGOA Forum. Additionally, the AGOA Secretariat would use the AGOA Spring Conference to start the planning for and promotion of the upcoming AGOA Forum in Côte d’Ivoire. The AGOA Spring Conference took place as scheduled at the Embassy of  t e d’ Ivoire in Washington, DC in April, and was highly successful. On June 19, 2019, it became apparent to Secretariat that the agreement was being reneged upon. The breaching of the agreement by the Ivorian Technical Organization Committee coupled with the “new approach” to organizing the Civil Society Session has led us to this decision.

Consequently, the AGOA CSO Network Secretariat is withdrawing the AGOA CSO Secretariat and Network’s participation in the CSO Session of the 2019 AGOA Forum, as of Sunday, July 14, 2019. Additionally, the Secretariat views the resulting structural changes to the CSO Session as hostile, and an attack on the rights and space of civil society. And we have requested that the following changes be reversed, immediately.

1.     Cease direct interference in managing the agenda, list of speakers and coordination of CSO Session of the AGOA Forum with the exception of accrediting CSO delegates to the Ministerial/Official Forum

2.     Recall the decision to start denying civil society members from non- AGOA eligible countries accreditation to the Official Ministerial Forum (as of the 2019 Forum)

3.     Restore the read-out by civil society organizations on the agenda and during the Official Ministerial Forum on August 5, 2019, instead of "busing" a few delegates to the venue on August 4th, the day before the Official Ministerial Forum is scheduled to take place

4.     Stop denying Civil Society the right to assemble during the Forum, by restricting civil society organizations to a limited one-day event, the day relegated as the official CSO Session day.

5.     Put an end to restricting the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat’s ability to manage our member’s affairs during the CSO Session of the US-Sub-Saharan African Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (aka AGOA Forum)

Moreover, as of today, July 18, 2019, the agenda for the CSO Session does not include any plenary sessions and the registration portal for the CSO Session is still not operational, approximately, two weeks before this international event.

The Secretariat asks that you join us in this protest by clicking the REPLY BUTTON; and adding your name, and your organization to the bottom of this document for circulation, and stand with us in reversing the “BIG GOVERMENT” approach to managing Civil Society Organizations.

My heartfelt thanks to you for your commitment to the mission of our Network and your continued support.

Sincerely,

Fred O. Oladeinde

Chairman, AGOA Civil Society Network Secretariat




Greetings!

 

The 5th Annual AGOA Spring Conference took place April 10 -11, 2019 in Washington, DC . Day-one was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, and day- two took place on Capitol Hill. The theme of this year’s conference was “AGOA: Advancing Mutual Prosperity through Trade and Economic Cooperation.”

 

The AGOA Spring Conference is a precursor to the CSO/AWEP Session of the US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum commonly know as the AGOA Forum, and serves as a vehicle for galvanizing support for the AGOA Forum. Civil society organizations, government officials, chambers of commerce and small and medium sized enterprises from throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the United States attended this highly successful event.


Download the Communique from the Conference

Welcome: Fred Oladeinde, Chair, AGOA CSO Network Secretariat

Welcome Remarks: H.E. E. Mohamed Haidara Ambassador of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to the USA

Opening Remarks: Honorable Mrs. Nialé Kaba, Minister of Planning and Development, The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire  

 Speech by: Rev. Dr. Milenge Mwenelwata

2nd Vice President, Eglise Du Christ Au Congo

Download the Agenda from the Spring Conference




 


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AGOA CSO Network 
Membership

 

The AGOA Civil Society Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations, (NGOs) and other groups in the United States and Africa working to facilitate the successful application of the AGOA trade bill for the benefit of small business in the US, and Africa.

The Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix, Mauritius.

The AGOA CSO Network's focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.

Become part of the solution by joining, today! click here!!!

Our heartfelt thanks to those of you that have already joined and or renewed your
membership!!! We appreciate you and your support!






Africa Femmes Perfomantes

Event Slated for

March 28 -31, 2109


Africa Femmes Performantes hosted their 10th Edition of the
 Business Inspiring Women Conference. The event took place March 28 -31, 2019, at the Tommy Douglas Center in Silver Spring, MD. The theme of this year's event was: Let’s put our power together as a CATALYST for investing to grow Business: When Women act….the World changes!

The event was a resounding success! Our Chairman, Fred Oladeinde was a featured speaker during the conference. Click here to view his speech and pictures from the event.



OPENING REMARKS: Mr. Fred Oladeinde, Chair AGOA CSO Network Secretariat


Senegal President Macky Sall O
fficially Wins Re-Election

(CNN) Senegalese President Macky Sall has been officially re-elected to a second term in office after the country's constitutional council confirmed his win in the February 24 elections with 58% of the vote.

Provisional results announced by Senegal's electoral commission last week showed that Sall, a former prime minister, gained more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off election.

Candidates in Senegal's presidential polls are required to secure more than 50% of the vote tally in the first round to be declared winner.

Sall, who first came to power in 2012 after defeating incumbent Abdoulaye Wade, defeated four challengers including Idrissa Seck, another former prime minister, and Ousmane Sonko, a former tax officer who ran on the promise of ending significant colonial-era ties to France.

"This renewed trust motivates me to work twice as hard, to do more and better," Sall tweeted Tuesday after confirmation of his victory.

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/06/africa/senegal-president-sall-re-election-intl/index.html



AGOA CSO Network Membership


The AGOA Civil Society Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations, (NGOs) and other groups in the United States and Africa working to facilitate the successful application of the AGOA trade bill for the benefit of small business in the US, and Africa.

The Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix, Mauritius.


DBA Group GabonThe AGOA CSO Network's focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.

Become part of the solution by joining, today! click here!!! 

Our heartfelt thanks to those of you that have already joined and or renewed your membership!!!  We appreciate you and your support! 


Africa Trade Development Center, Cargo Express and HUBB UCS leadership recently at Cargo Express facilities discussing logistics and fulfillment for 2018 holiday season


Fred Oladeinde President, Tony Okonmah of ATDC with Jose Matto President and Abdellatif Bedier of HUBB-UCS at recent meeting at the ATDC facilities in Miami on 2018 holiday seasons



Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
27th District of Florida
AfrICANDO 2018 Recipient of the Medal of Glory





African Women's Entrepreneurship Program

PRODUCT SHOWCASE

Agricultural Goods || Jewelry || Fashion & Design || Textiles and more!

Meridian International Center, Washington, DC



CIPE Hosts AGOA CSO Network International Forum on U.S. Africa Trade: “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Expanding United States-Africa Trade and Investment”

 July 11, 2018

 WASHINGON, D.C. –– Global experts have concluded an international forum held at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) headquarters in Washington, D.C. to craft recommendations for maximizing trade between Africa and the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The longstanding U.S. legislation has helped boost trade with African nations, strengthen democracy, and improve the quality of life for citizens via new economic opportunities.

 The AGOA Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network and the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) organized the annual event, which occurred Monday and Tuesday. Participants from 40 nations held panel discussions and activities designed to help them form policy recommendations for their governments ahead of ministerial meetings this week with U.S. Trade officials. CIPE Executive Director Andrew Wilson welcomed forum attendees and provided encouragement. Read more

 



17th Annual U.S. - Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum

(also known as the AGOA Forum)

July 9 -11, 2018

Washington, DC, USA


 The Civil Society Organization/African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Session of  the 17th AGOA Forum is scheduled for July 9-1oth, 2018 at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), located at 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW,  Suite 700, Washington, DC  20036, and on July 11, from 2:30-4:30 pm  at The Heritage Foundation which is located at 214 Massachusetts, Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002. 

The theme of this year's event is: " The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Expanding U.S.- Africa Trade and Investment," and the event will offer seminars, a workshop on developing an AGOA Country Utilization Plan for Civil Society networking,  a visit to Capitol Hill,  museums and  other historical sites in the United States Capitol. 

Download Communique

Download the  Event Schedule

Download the Agenda




AGOA CSO NETWORK SPRING CONFERENCE

The 4th Annual AGOA Spring Conference took place April 18 -19, 2018 in Washington, DC, at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and on Capitol Hill.  The conference focused on President Trump’s policy on Africa; and included a review of the Administration’s recent visit to Africa; trade numbers for AGOA over the past twelve months under the Trump administration; and discussed the opportunity that bi annual AGOA Utilization Strategies offer eligible Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries for increasing exports and advancing economic cooperation under AGOA.

A highlight of the event was a visit by members of the AGOA CSO Network with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a Congressional Exchange on the legislative agenda for AGOA on April 19th on Capitol Hill.

During the Congressional Exchange, Network participated in discussions on AGOA with:

Angela Ellard, Chief Trade Counsel Ways & Means Committee and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives

Joshua Snead, Trade Counsel to the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

Katherine Tai, Chief Trade Counsel, Democratic Staff, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means

Katherine F. White, Brookings Legis Congressional Fellow, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means


Download the Agenda for the Spring Conference

Download Remarks from the Spring Conference


Constance Hamilton, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

Ambassador Matthew T. Harrington, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Africa and Public Diplomacy/Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Eugene Cornelius, Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Download the Communique for the Event




AGOA CSO Network Newsletter
Spring 2018


Download the Spring Newsletter


                                                                                                                                 

AGOA Civil Society/AWEP Session
of the
16th AGOA Forum
Lome, Togo

Presented to 16th AGOA Ministerial Session

The AGOA Civil Society Organization and African Women Entrepreneurs Program (AWEP) Session of the 2017 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum took place on August 7-10, under the Theme “Civil Society and AWEP Using AGOA to Build Prosperity by 2025” The Session was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel and the ECOWAS Building in Lomé, Togo.

 The CSO/AWEP Session of the 16th AGOA Forum brought together more than 200 delegates from the United States and AGOA eligible countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to address the following issues:

  • AGOA Country Utilization Strategy
  • AGOA Eligibility Criteria
  • Infrastructure and Transportation Linkages to Make AGOA Products Competitive
  • Using Fair Trade to Promote AGOA Exports for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
  • Using Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises to Strengthen Regional Integration
  • AGOA Challenges, Best Practices and the Way Forward


Download the Agenda for the CSO/AWEP Session


                                                                                                                                   

19th Annual AfrICANDO Trade and Investment Conference/Trade Show

Supply Chain Development and Competitiveness under AGOA
Apparel, Handi-Crafts, Beverages, Spices and Ethnic Food Trade Show for SMEs
2nd Track for Port Directors on Supply Chain and Port Security
September 20-22, 2017
Betty T. Ferguson Complex, Miami Gardens, Florida
, USA 

AfrICANDO 2017 - A US - Africa Trade and Investment Conference/Trade Show brought together more than 200 leaders from government, civil society, chambers of commerce, and the private sector from throughout Africa, the Caribbean and the United States. The objective of this year’s event was to address supply chain development, trade policy, trade security, logistics/transportation, and other relevant issues in an effort to identify the challenges and obstacles to small, and medium enterprises’(SMEs’) competitiveness in the US markets under AGOA.

The 4-day event included a dinner, and tour of several points of interest, including the Africa Trade Development Center (ATDC)/ Miami Free Zone; workshops; a trade show, and a marketplace; reception/fashion show; and competition among export ready companies from AGOA eligible countries exhibiting during the trade show.


Download the Communique from AfrICANDO 2017

Download Photos from AfrICANDO



And the Winners of the MSME Competition during AfrICANDO 2017 are...

Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, and Nigeria (Ghana not pictured)

3rd  Annual AGOA CSO Network
Spring Conference

April 20-21, 2017
Washington, DC, U.S.A

The 3rd Annual AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Spring Conference under the theme “The Future of AGOA under the Trump Administration and 115th Congress of the United States” took place on April 20, 2017 at the Embassy of the Republic of Senegal, in Washington DC, and on April 21, 2017 in the historic Library of the House Ways and Means Committee in the Longworth House Office Building, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC.

The event brought together Ambassadors representing AGOA eligible countries,  leaders from civil society,  government, business,  members of the press from the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and a Cabinet Minister to focus on how civil society organizations can support government and business in reversing the current trend of declining US-Africa trade volume and economic engagement and strengthen the implementation of AGOA with the view of creating sorely needed good paying  jobs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean under the Trump administration.  Download the complete Communique, including Recommendations here!

 Download Presentations from the Spring Conference

Fred O. Oladeinde, Chairman, AGOA CSO Network Secretariat

Harry Sullivan, Director, Economic & Regional Affairs
Bureau of African Affairs, US Department of State

AGOA Trade Statistics



       


CSO/AWEP Joint Session
of the


15th Annual United States - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation  Forum
(AGOA Forum)

September 22-23, 2016
Washington, DC, USA

The Civil Society Organization (CSO)/African Women’s Entrepreneurship (AWEP) Joint Session of the 15th Annual U.S. – Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (also known as the AGOA Forum) took place September 22-23, 2016 under the theme “The Role of Civil Society in Maximizing AGOA Benefits Now while Preparing for the Future Beyond AGOA.”  The event was held at the Reagan Events Center which is located in the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Washington, DC.

 

The Joint Session of this year’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum brought together more than 200 delegates from the United States, AGOA eligible countries, and others to address the following issues:

  •         AGOA Country Utilization Strategy
  •          Congressional Perspectives on The Future of AGOA
  •          Capacity Building and Technical Assistance to Support Trade Facilitation in Sub-Saharan Africa   
  •          The Future of US-Africa Economic Cooperation
  •          Enhancing Africa’s Regional Integration to Support US-Africa Trade and Investment
  •          YALI’s Role in Strengthening US-Africa Trade and Investment Expansion
  •          AWEP Discussions on The Future of US-Africa Trade and Investment   
                                                                              
                                                                                 Watch Live Streaming of the Joint Session


To  view video of  the Ministerial Opening Ceremony of the United States Sub-Saharan  Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation (AGOA) Forum. Introductory remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Opening Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative, click on the link below: 

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/484825/ministerial-opening-ceremony-united-states-sub-saharan-africa-trade-and-economic-cooperation-agoa-forum-introductory-remarks


YouTube Videos
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman Opens 2016 AGOAForum

Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield Opens 2016 Africa Growth and Opportunity

For information on past  AGOA Forums visit  our old website at http://www.democracy-africa.org/agoa-civil-society-network.html


The AGOA CSO Network is an Initiative of The Foundation for Democracy in Africa (FDA)

FDA is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Address: 1200 G Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC  20005

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