About the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a trade mechanism that was passed by the US Government in 2000 to encourage US-Africa trade. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted in May 2000 to expand U.S.-sub-Saharan African trade and investment, stimulate economic growth, encourage economic integration, and to facilitate sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy. The Act also establishes the annual U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) which promotes a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues between U.S. and African governments, members of Congress, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders.
AGOA currently provides the 36 AGOA-eligible countries with:
- Most liberal access to US markets for any country or region without at free trade agreement
- Reinforced Africa reform and development efforts
- Access to US credit and technical expertise
Eligibility for AGOA was designed to reward and provide incentives for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries that are making progress in political and economic reforms.
Each SSA country’s performance is assessed using the following criteria:
- Establishment of market based economies
- Development of political pluralism and the rule of law
- Elimination of barriers to US trade and investment
- Protection of intellectual property rights
- Efforts to combat corruption
- Policies to reduce poverty and increase access to health care and education
- Protection of human rights and worker rights
- Elimination of certain child labor practices
By creating tangible incentives for African countries to implement economic and commercial reform policies, AGOA contributes to better market opportunities and stronger commercial partners in Africa for US companies.
On June 29, 2015 President Barak Obama signed the Trade Preferences Enhancement Act (TPEA) into law. TPEA re-authorizes AGOA for ten years, along with the associated “third country fabric” provision, incorporating several enhancements that will promote greater reciprocity and sustainability as we prepare for a post-AGOA future. This re-authorization is a strong signal that investors can and should invest with confidence in Africa.
AGOA should help forge stronger commercial ties between African countries and the United States, while it helps to integrate Africa into the global economy. US firms may find new opportunities in privatizations of African state-owned enterprises, or in partnership with African companies in infrastructure projects. US firms can also benefit by forming joint ventures with African or other firms to take advantage of AGOA benefits.