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HomeNewsExtension of Agoa could help transform African economies, writes President Cyril Ramaphosa

Extension of Agoa could help transform African economies, writes President Cyril Ramaphosa

Dear fellow South Africans, 

In the past few months, there has been much discussion in South Africa about Agoa, the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The act was passed by the US Congress in 2000, granting qualifying African countries duty-free access to the US market for their exports.

While this may seem to many in our country to be a rather distant and even obscure topic, Agoa is an important instrument for growing and transforming our economy. The benefits are felt in the lives of our people through increased economic activity and the jobs created.

We recently hosted a successful 20th Agoa Forum in Johannesburg where we made a case for the extension, or reauthorisation, of Agoa beyond 2025. This would provide certainty for companies wanting to invest or expand their operations in eligible African countries. South Africa benefits a great deal from Agoa.

Our country is the US’ largest trading partner in Africa. The US exports more goods to South Africa and imports more goods from South Africa than any other African country. According to US Census Bureau data from 2020, South Africa was the largest destination for US foreign direct investment among Agoa-eligible countries. 

The value of Agoa to African countries, however, extends beyond the impressive trade statistics. Rather, Agoa can make an important contribution to the transformation of African countries from mainly being exporters of raw materials to producers of finished goods for continental and global markets.