June 26, 2015

U.S.-Africa Trade Bill Passes Congress

Bread for the World applauds the 10-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which passed yesterday in Congress.

This is the first 10-year reauthorization of AGOA since it was first enacted in 2000. African leaders, U.S. businesses, and civil society all supported the extension. Bread for the World has consistently advocated for this bill since 1998.

“This helps to strengthen U.S.-Africa trade opportunities, and encourages job creation both in Africa and in the United States,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

AGOA remains the most important legislation that defines trade relationships between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. Since it went into effect in 2000, exports under AGOA increased more than 500 percent, from $8.15 billion in 2001 to $53.8 billion in 2011. However, 95 percent of the total goods traded under AGOA was in the form of oil, gas, and minerals over that decade.

“It is essential that our trade policies and agreements contribute to the efforts to reduce hunger and poverty”, Beckmann said.

In addition to the 10-year extension, the bill includes a provision that will strengthen the trade capacity of smallholder women farmers, giving them better access to markets. “Closing the gender gap and investing in small-scale farmers are crucial elements to reaching our goal of ending hunger around the world by 2030,” Beckmann added.

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