U.S. Trade and Investment Relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa: The African Growth and Opportunity Act and Beyond
U.S. Trade and Investment Relationship with
Sub-Saharan Africa: The African
Growth and Opportunity Act and Beyond
Updated October 28, 2008
Analyst in International Trade and Finance
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
U.S. Trade and Investment Relationship with Sub-
Saharan Africa: The African Growth and Opportunity
Act and Beyond
Following the end of the apartheid era in South Africa in the early 1990s, the
United States sought to increase economic relations with sub-Saharan Africa.
President Clinton instituted several measures that dealt with investment, debt relief,
and trade. Congress required the President to develop a trade and development
policy for Africa.
The economic challenges facing Africa today are serious. Unlike the period
from 1960 to 1973, when economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa was relatively
strong, since 1973 the countries of sub-Saharan Africa have grown at rates well
below other developing countries. There are some signs of improvement, but
problems such as HIV/AIDS and the debt burden are constraining African economic
In May 2000, Congress approved a new U.S. trade and investment policy for
sub-Saharan Africa in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA; Title I, P.L.
106-200). U.S. trade with and investment in sub-Saharan Africa have comprised
only 1-2% of U.S. totals for the world. AGOA extends preferential treatment to
imports from eligible countries that are pursuing market reform measures. Data show
that U.S. imports under AGOA are mostly energy products, but imports to date of
other products have grown. AGOA mandated that U.S. officials meet regularly with
their counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa, and six of these meetings have been held.
AGOA also directed the President to provide U.S. government technical
assistance and trade capacity support to AGOA beneficiary countries. Government
agencies that have roles in this effort include the U.S. Agency for International
Development, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa (established by
statute under AGOA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-
Import Bank, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and the Trade and
Development Agency. In addition to bilateral programs, the United States is a
member of several multilateral institutions that provide trade capacity building.
In AGOA, Congress declared that free-trade agreements should be negotiated,
where feasible, with interested sub-Saharan African countries. Related to this
provision, negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the Southern African Customs
Union, which includes South Africa and four other countries, began in June 2003, but
were suspended in April 2006.
Several topics may be important to the 110th Congress in the oversight of AGOA
and in potential legislation amending the act. These issues concern expanding the
number of beneficiary countries which use AGOA benefits; diversifying AGOA
exports away from primary commodities such as oil; making trade capacity building
more effective for AGOA beneficiaries; and strengthening the link between poverty
reduction and trade in Africa. This product will be updated periodically.
In troduction ......................................................1
Perspectives on the Sub-Saharan African Economy.......................3
Economic Growth Forecast..................................4
Investment and Growth Challenges............................5
U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Trends...............................6
U.S. Trade with Sub-Saharan Africa...............................6
U.S. Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa.............................9
AGOA: An Update...............................................10
Beneficiary Countries and Trade Benefits..........................10
Textiles and Apparel......................................11
Developments Following Enactment of AGOA.................12
Amendments to AGOA....................................12
AGOA Trade Trends......................................15
United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation
Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building........................17
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)............17
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa (AUSTRA)........18
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)................18
Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)................................19
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS).................20
Trade and Development Agency (TDA).......................20
Regional Cooperation and Free Trade Agreements...................22
Southern African Customs Union FTA (SACU).................22
U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA)........23
U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT).......................23
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)............23
European Union Activity...................................24
AGOA: Current and Future Challenges................................24
Appendix: Regional Economic Integration Among Sub-Saharan
Southern African Development Community (SADC).............27
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).....27
East African Community (EAC).............................27
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).........28
Figure 1. Africa...................................................2
Figure 2. U.S. Imports from Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007....................7
Figure 3. U.S. Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007.......................7
Figure 4. U.S. Imports from Sub-Saharan Africa by Product Category, 2007....8
Figure 5. U.S. Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa by Product Category, 2007......8
List of Tables
Table 1. Country Status under AGOA................................14
U.S. Trade and Investment Relationship
with Sub-Saharan Africa: The African
Growth and Opportunity Act and Beyond
All of us share a common vision for the future of Africa. We look to the day
when prosperity for Africa is built through trade and markets.
— President George W. Bush to delegates at the African
Growth and Opportunity Forum in Mauritius,
January 15, 2003
As reflected in the above statement by President Bush, a key element in U.S.
policy toward Africa is the potential benefit from improved commerce between the
two regions. This interest in increasing bilateral commerce began after the end of the
apartheid era in South Africa in the early 1990s. In 1993, Congress approved the end
of anti-apartheid restrictions, and later that year Commerce Secretary Ron Brown led
a business delegation to South Africa.
With the end of apartheid, President Clinton instituted numerous measures to
help the region and increase U.S. trade and investment there. In 1994, he announced
a $600 million aid and investment package for South Africa. In 1997, he proposed
the Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa, which offered
different levels of economic benefits to countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA),
depending on their economic reform measures.
At the same time, Congress was developing legislation that sought to improve
U.S.- Africa trade relations. In the 1994 legislation to implement the Uruguay Round
multilateral trade agreements (P.L. 103-465), Congress directed the Administration
to develop and implement a comprehensive trade and development policy for the
countries of Africa. Disappointed with the Administration’s first report under this
provision, some Members developed legislation to authorize a new trade and
investment policy for sub-Saharan Africa. In May 2000, Congress approved such
legislation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA; Title I, P.L. 106-
200). AGOA offers trade preferences and other economic benefits to countries in
SSA that meet certain criteria, including progress towards a market economy, respect
for the rule of law, and human and worker rights.
Figure 1. Africa
M O ROCCO
EG YPTLIB YAAL G E R I AWESTERNSAHARA
SUDAN DJIBOUT I
ET HIO PIANIGERIA CENT RAL
KENYAGABONUGANDASAOTOME & PRINCIPEDEMOCRATICREPUBLICOF
TA N Z A N I A
COM O ROSANGOLA
ZAM B IA
MOZAMBIQUEZIM B AB WE
NAM IBIA MADAGASCAR
BOT SWAN A
Source:Map Resources. Adapted by CRS. (K.Yancey 6/21/04)
Both the executive and legislative branches continue to consider ways in which
to improve trade relations between the United States and SSA. In 2002, the Congress
amended AGOA to further increase market access for products from SSA.1 The
Administration began free-trade negotiations with the South African Customs Union
(Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland) in June 2003. In 2004
Congress passed legislation further amending AGOA, extending its benefits beyond
the original deadline and clarifying certain provisions. This legislation also included
directives to the President on investment initiatives and technical assistance.
Congress passed legislation in December 2006 which further amends AGOA, to
extend certain provisions concerning textile and apparel imports to 2012.2
This report presents perspectives on African economic trends and provides an
overview of U.S. trade and investment flows with SSA. It discusses the provisions
of AGOA and the changes that have occurred since its enactment. It concludes with
a brief discussion of issues of congressional interest.
1 Section 3108 of the Trade Act of 2002, P.L. 107-210.
2 Section 6002 of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, P.L. 109-432.
Perspectives on the Sub-Saharan African Economy
The historical pattern of contemporary Africa’s economic growth provides
insights to help understand Africa’s current economic situation and policy options.
Between 1960 and 1973, which is the period immediately following independence
in most African countries, economic growth was reasonably strong in much of sub-
Saharan Africa (SSA). The subsequent two decades were, however, a period of
stagnation or decline for most countries.3 The causes of Africa’s slow and stagnant
economic growth have been a source of debate among development economists.
Analysts have cited poor governance, political instability, geographic features, and
historical conditions such as colonialism as different reasons for Africa’s economic
malaise. Whatever the underlying cause, Africa’s slow growth and stagnation have
been attributed to slow accumulation of both human and physical capital, dependence
on single commodity exports, low productivity growth and pressures from high
population growth rates.4
Most African countries experienced a sharp decline in their growth trends at
some point between 1973 and 1980, followed by persistent stagnation until the early
and still had not recovered to 1970s levels in 2005.5 High economic growth volatility
is a common feature in SSA countries’ historical trends. A recent World Bank study
finds that SSA has experienced more growth volatility than other regions, resulting
in dampened investments and obscuring periods of good performance for some
countries. This volatility has been caused by conflict, poor governance, and
fluctuating world commodity prices. The authors of the study contend that reducing
volatility is at least as important as promoting growth.6 Recent data demonstrate that
many African countries have made a modest recovery since about 1994, but the
growth rates for the remainder of the 1990s tended to remain far below the first post-
colonial phase.7 For the four decades as a whole, SSA’s average per capita income
growth of 0.9 percent lagged behind that of other developing countries by 1.5% and
approximately 3% below that of the high performing African (Botswana and
3 A. Hoeffler, “The Augmented Solow Model and the African Growth Debate,” CSAE,
University of Oxford, March 2000.
4 For a further discussion of African economic development, see CRS Report RL32489,
Africa: Development Issues and Policy Options, by Raymond W. Copson.
5 Jorge Saba Arbache and John Page, “Patterns of Long Term Growth in Sub-Saharan
Africa.” World Bank, November 2007.
6 Jorge Saba Arbache and John Page, “More Growth or Fewer Collapses? A New Look at
Long Run Growth in SSA.” World Bank, October 2007.
7 The Economist, May 13-19, 2000.
8 L. Pritchett, “Patterns of Economic Growth: Hills, Plateaus, Mountains, and Plains,” World
Bank Paper, July 1998 (hereafter, Pritchett);
Individual African countries have shown widely divergent economic growth
performance. A recent study found that in a group of 36 African countries, 22
countries exhibited reasonably robust growth before the long period of stagnation.
The remaining 14 either experienced sharp growth fluctuations or showed persistent
stagnation at growth rates below 1.5 percent throughout the last three decades. In this
study, the high growth rates achieved by Botswana and Mauritius stand out.9
The consequence of the long period of stagnation for a large number of African
economies, combined with high population growth rates, is that little or no progress
has been made in raising the standards of living in these countries. Many African
countries have experienced a decrease in the standard of living.10 Between 1960 and
1994, out of 35 SSA countries for which comparable data exist, 16 suffered at least
20% loss in income per capita measured in 1985 constant US dollars. Most of the
losses were registered after 1975.11 In contrast to SSA, developed countries have
sustained a remarkably steady per capita growth of approximately 2% for about 100
years, and some newly industrializing countries have maintained income growth rates
above 3% for nearly three decades, thus enabling them to gain significant ground on
the industrialized countries.12
Economic Growth Forecast. According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan
Africa’s resilient economic growth performance over the past decade suggests that
it may have achieved a milestone in its quest for sustained growth. SSA’s economic
performance from 1995 to 2005 “reverses the collapses in 1975-1985 and the13
stagnations in 1985-1995.” Its growth has averaged 4.0% between 2000 and 2005,
compared with less than one percent during the early 1990s. In 2006, GDP expanded
by 5.6% in SSA. Also, the growth seen in the current period is less volatile and more
evenly distributed among African countries than in the past. Twenty-two countries
(out of a total 48 Sub-Saharan African countries) have had average growth rates of
4% or greater during the past five years, as compared with only four countries in the
first half of the 1990s. In 2006, half of the SSA countries experienced growth of 5%
or more. This improved economic performance may reflect many factors, including
better governance, increased trade flows, strong commodity prices, rising aid flows,
9 Pritchett, p. 18.
10 W. Easterly, “Why Is Africa Marginal in the World Economy?,” In G. Maasdrop, ed.,
Can South and Southern Africa Become Globally Competitive Economies? (New York: St
Martin’s Press, 1996), pp. 19-30.
11 D. Rodrik, “Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict and Growth
Collapses,” mimeo, London School of Economic and Political Science, August 1998.
12 Pritchett, p. 12.
13 The World Bank, Africa Development Indicators 2007, October 2007.
and debt forgiveness.14 Despite these promising trends, most African countries will
reportedly not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving
poverty by 2015 without doubling their rate of growth.15
The World Bank forecasts that sub-Saharan Africa will achieve a real GDP
growth rate of 5.8% in 2007 and 2008. The growth rate for the entire world is
estimated to be 4.0% in 2006, and is forecasted to be 3.3% in 2007. For all
developing countries, economic growth is forecasted to be 6.7%, with the fastest
growth in Asia.16
Investment and Growth Challenges. Despite the region’s improved
economic performance, the economic challenges facing Africa remain enormous.
African countries are vulnerable to volatile weather conditions, commodity prices,
and political events in parts of the continent. Many economies in Africa depend on
one or two commodity exports, which leaves them vulnerable to exogenous factors.
They are also said to generate too little savings and attract too little investment.
According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Africa must devote at least
25% of its GDP to investment to achieve sustainable growth.17 Yet, World Bank
figures indicate that gross domestic investment (public and private) in Africa only
accounted for 19% of GDP in 2005.18 Net foreign direct investment (FDI) at $11.3
billion was the equivalent of 2% of GDP in 2004. While FDI worldwide remains
stable, FDI flows to Africa as a percentage of flows to developing countries as a19
whole have fallen from approximately 25% in 1970 to 5% in 2004. GDP growth is
positive for Africa as a whole, but average population increases of 2.7% in the 1990s
have caused per capita GDP to fall during much of the period. SSA’s real per-capita
income was $572 in 2005 compared with $590 in 1980.20
HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is also straining African economies and
threatens to curtail future economic growth. The point estimate of SSA’s incidence
of HIV/AIDS was 6.1% in 2005, and ten countries in southern Africa had incidence
rates of over 10%. Botswana, long considered one of the region’s most successful
economies, had an incidence rate of 24.1%, which is even lower than its peak of
37.3% in 2003. Life expectancy in Botswana has fallen to 35 years, and for the
region as a whole, it has fallen to 47 years. Only Swaziland had a higher HIV/AIDS
incidence rate than Botswana in 2005, at 33.4%. The pandemic not only diverts
resources from investments in productive resources and social services to care for the
14 The World Bank, Global Development Finance, 2006 and 2007.
15 C. Patillo, S. Gupta, and K. Carey, “Growing Pains,” Finance & Development.
(International Monetary Fund: March 2006).
16 The World Bank, Global Development Finance, 2007.
17 United Nations, Economic Report on Africa 2002, pp. 37.
18 Gross domestic investment is now labeled gross fixed capital formation by the World
Bank, but the definition remains the same. From World Bank, African Development
Indicators 2007, October 2007.
19 World Bank, World Development Indicators Online, October 11, 2006.
20 World Bank, African Development Indicators 2007, October 2007.
sick and dying, but it also erodes human capital by striking some of the most
productive members of society: skilled workers, teachers, and professionals.21
Debt. The debt burden carried by SSA countries has been identified as a drag
on the economies of the region. At the end of 2005, the states of SSA owed foreign
creditors a total of $212.9 billion.22 While SSA’s debt is comparable to other regions
in terms of absolute amount, per capita share ($291 per head), or debt service as
percentage of export earnings (6%), its debt burden has been considered onerous23
because of its high ratio of debt to income. Africa’s total debt was equal to 66% of
its income in 2002. As of late 2007, Africa’s total debt stood at about 20% of its24
income. This debt reduction is reportedly the result of debt relief initiatives by the
international community. Observers, such as World Bank president Robert Zoellick,
acknowledge that the debt relief initiative has been successful in reducing the debt
of several African countries, but they are concerned about the future debt-
sustainability of low income countries in SSA because of new debts being incurred
to non-western countries, particularly China.25
U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Trends
U.S. Trade with Sub-Saharan Africa
The United States conducts a small share of its total trade with sub-Saharan
Africa. In 2007, the United States exported $13.9 billion to sub-Saharan Africa, or
1.3% of total U.S. global exports of $1,046 billion. The United States imported
$66.9 billion from the region, or 3.4% of its total imports of $1,943 billion. Total
trade (exports plus imports) between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa more
than quadrupled between 1990 and 2007, from $17 billion to $81 billion. However,
U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa as a share of total U.S. trade did not increase as
dramatically from 1990 to 2007, from 1.9% in 1990 to 2.7% in 2007.
Although U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa is small compared with major
trading partners, it is comparable to U.S. trade with several other developing regions.
For example in 2007, the United States traded $87.1 billion (exports plus imports)
with the Andean Pact countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela),
$81 billion with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, $70.7 billion with the countries
of South Asia (Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, India, Laos, Macau,
Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam), $63.1 billion with
the Mercosur countries (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), and $41.2 billion
21 See CRS Report RL33584, AIDS in Africa, by Nicolas Cook. Data from World Bank,
African Development Indicators 2007.
22 International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2007.
23 Ibid., and World Bank, World Development Indicators Online, October 16, 2006.
24 International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, October 2007.
25 “Zoellick Says Pros and Cons to Chinese Lending in Africa,” Agence France Presse,
December 18, 2007.
with the countries of the U.S. - Central American and Dominican Republic Free
Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR; Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic).26
Most U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa is with a small number of countries.
Eighty-one percent of U.S. imports from the region were from three SSA countries
in 2007: Nigeria (49%), Angola (18%), and South Africa (14%). Exports were
similarly concentrated, with 66% of U.S. exports to three countries: South Africa
(38%), Nigeria (19%), and Angola (9%). The remaining countries each accounted
for less than 6% of U.S. exports to the region. (See Figures 2 and 3.)
Figure 2. U.S. Imports fromFigure 3. U.S. Exports to Sub-
Sub-Saharan Africa, 2007Saharan Africa, 2007
Nigeria 48.6%DR Congo 4.6%
Chad 3.4%South Africa 37.6%Gabon 3.4%
All Other 12.2%Kenya 4.2%
All Other 23.4%
South Africa 13.7%Angola 14.3%Angola 9.1%Ghana 2.9%
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission data website at [http://dataweb.usitc.gov].
Natural resources dominate U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly all
U.S. imports from the region in 2007 were either energy products (81%), which were
almost exclusively petroleum, or minerals and metals (8%) (see Figure 4). Nigeria
was the largest African and fourth-largest overall oil supplier to the United States.
It supplied 60% of U.S. petroleum imports from the region, which accounted for 9%
of total global U.S. oil imports. Angola supplied another 23% of U.S. petroleum
from the region, and the Democratic Republic of Congo supplied 6%. Other
petroleum exporters from the region included Chad, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea,
supplying between three and four percent of U.S. oil imports from Africa. The most
important U.S. mineral/metal imports from Africa were platinum, followed by
Despite the continued dominance of natural resource products in U.S. imports
from sub-Saharan Africa, there has been some growth in the diversity of products
imported. Transportation equipment imports from Africa, mainly automobiles from
South Africa, increased in value from $76 million in 1998 to $605 million in 2004.
These imports dropped to $295 million in 2005, possibly because of the appreciation
26 Regional trade figures from World Trade Atlas. Although the other regions include fewer
countries than sub-Saharan Africa, most U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa is concentrated
in a small number of countries.
of the South African rand. In 2007, U.S. imports of vehicles from SSA were back
up to $578 million. The value of apparel imported from SSA has shown a similar
trend, from $523 million in 1998 to $1,757 million in 2004. In 2005 this figure
declined to around $1,460 million, and declined further to $1,291 million in 2006,
as a result of the end of the world quota regime for apparel and textiles per the WTO
Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC).27 In 2007, apparel imports from Sub-
Saharan Africa held steady at $1,294 million.
Figure 4. U.S. Imports from Sub-Saharan
Africa by Product Category, 2007
Minerals & Metals 7.0%Textiles & Apparel 2.0%Other 9.0%
Agricultural Products 1.0%
Energy Products 81.0%
Figure 5. U.S. Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa by
Product Category, 2007
Medical & Optical Instruments 4.0%
Energy Products 4.0%
Transportation Equipment 22.0%Electronics 6.0%Chemical Products 3.0%
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission data website at [http://dataweb.usitc.gov/]
27 See “Termination of the Multi Fibre Agreement,” above.
U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa were more diverse. Machinery and
mechanical appliances was the leading export sector in 2007 (25% of U.S. exports
to the region), followed by transportation equipment (22%), cereals (8%) and
electrical machinery (6%). Mining equipment parts was the leading export item,
followed by automobiles and wheat. (see Figure 5 above).
The United States is among sub-Saharan Africa’s major trading partners. In
of the market, followed by Germany (6.7%), France (6.2%), and the United States28
(5.9%). The United States was the most important single country destination for
exports from SSA, purchasing 29.6% of the region’s exports, followed by China29
(10.9%) and the United Kingdom (7.1%). The European Union accounted for
U.S. Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa
Similar to trade, U.S. investment in Sub-Saharan Africa is a very small percent
of worldwide U.S. total investment. At year-end 2006, the stock of U.S. direct
investment in sub-Saharan Africa was $13.75 billion, or less than 1% of the $2,38431
billion in total U.S. direct investment abroad. U.S. capital outflows to Africa
(including North Africa) doubled from 2005 to 2006, from about $1 billion to $232
billion, though they are still below the 2003 peak of $2.7 billion. U.S. investment
in Africa is heavily toward natural resources: 47% of total U.S. investment in Africa
(excluding Egypt) is in the mining sector (including petroleum), compared to 13%
in manufacturing, 22% in holding companies, and 5% in wholesale trade. About 8%
of total U.S. investment in the mining sector worldwide is in Africa (excluding
Four countries accounted for 72% of the stock of U.S. direct investment in sub-
Saharan Africa at the end of 2006. For the second year in a row, Equatorial Guinea
surpassed South Africa as the leading location for U.S. direct investment in sub-
Saharan Africa, representing 31% of the total for the region. Nearly all U.S.
investment in Equatorial Guinea was in petroleum. Equatorial Guinea was followed
by South Africa, Angola, and Mauritius, which represented 8%, 8%, and 5%,
28 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 2007 Comprehensive Report on U.S. Trade and
Investment Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth
and Opportunity Act, May 2007, p. 23. Data were derived from the International Monetary
Fund, Direction of Trade Statistics 2006.
31 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, International Economic
Accounts, at [http://www.bea.gov/international/di1usdbal.htm].
respectively, of the stock of U.S. direct investment in the region.33 Angola and
Equatorial Guinea are petroleum exporters, while the primary exports of South Africa
and Mauritius to the United States are precious metals and apparel, respectively. For
the first time in four years, the stock of U.S. investment in Nigeria was below $1
billion, at $339 million.
In recent years, the United States has been the leading source of foreign direct
investment in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development, the United States accounted for more than 37% of total
flows to sub-Saharan Africa from developed countries during the period 1996-2000,
followed by France (18%) and the United Kingdom (13%).34
AGOA: An Update
In May 2000, Congress approved legislation, the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA; Title I, Trade and Development Act of 2000; P.L.
106-200), to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic
relations between the United States and the region. This section examines the major
provisions of AGOA, related legislative initiatives, and other developments since
Beneficiary Countries and Trade Benefits
Subtitle A of AGOA authorized the President to designate sub-Saharan African
countries as beneficiary countries eligible to receive duty-free treatment for certain
articles that are the growth, product, or manufacture of that country. It directed that
in designating a beneficiary country, the President must determine that the country
(1) has established, or is making continual progress toward establishing a market-
based economy and is taking other designated actions; (2) does not engage in
activities that undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests; and (3)
does not engage in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or
provide support for international terrorism.
Subtitle B of AGOA describes trade-related benefits that are available to
AGOA-eligible countries. Among these benefits is preferential duty-free treatment
for certain articles under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The
GSP program is a unilateral trade preference regime that allows certain products from
designated developing countries to enter the United States duty-free. Certain
categories of articles (see box) are identified in statute as ineligible for this duty-free
treatment, because they are “import sensitive.” AGOA provides that the President
can grant GSP duty-free treatment to all of these articles except one category (see
box, textiles and apparel). First, however, after receiving advice from the
International Trade Commission, the President must determine that an article is not
34 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. World Investment Report 2002:
Transnational Corporations and Export Competitiveness, p. 51.
import-sensitive in the context of imports from AGOA beneficiaries. These
additional articles qualifying for GSP duty-free treatment have to be the growth,
product, or manufacture of an AGOA beneficiary country, and they must meet the
GSP rules of origin as amended under AGOA. AGOA beneficiaries are exempt from
certain limits under the GSP program on allowable duty-free imports (“competitive
“Import-sensitive” articles that are ineligible for preferences under GSP:
1. Textile and apparel articles which were not eligible articles for purposes of this
subchapter on January 1, 1994, as this subchapter was in effect on such date.
2. Watches, except those watches entered after June 30, 1989, that the President
specifically determines, after public notice and comment, will not cause material
injury to watch or watch band, strap, or bracelet manufacturing and assembly
operations in the United States or the United States insular possessions.
4. Footwear, handbags, luggage, flat goods, work gloves, and leather wearing apparel
which were not eligible articles for purposes of this subchapter on January 1, 1995,
as this subchapter was in effect on such date.
6. Any other articles which the President determines to be import-sensitive in the
context of the Generalized System of Preferences.
Textiles and Apparel. AGOA also allows duty-free and quota-free treatment
for textiles and apparel under any of the following conditions:
!Apparel must be assembled in one or more AGOA beneficiary
countries from U.S. fabric that was made from U.S. yarns and cut in
the United States;
!Apparel must be assembled in one or more AGOA beneficiary
countries from U.S. fabric that was made from U.S. yarns. The
apparel must be cut in an AGOA country and assembled using U.S.
!Apparel must be assembled in one or more AGOA beneficiary
countries from fabric made in one or more AGOA beneficiary
countries from yarn made in the United States or an AGOA
beneficiary country. These imports were limited under AGOA to
1.5% of all U.S. imports (in aggregate square meter equivalents) in
FY2001, increasing to 3.5% over eight years. (This limit was later
amended; see Amendments to AGOA below.)
!For an apparel product of a less developed AGOA beneficiary
country (defined as having a per capita gross national product less
than $1,500 in 1998 as measured by the World Bank), that product
qualifies for duty-free and quota-free treatment through September
see Amendments to AGOA, below), regardless of the country of
origin of the fabric. The square meter equivalents cap on products
under this category is 3.5% of all U.S. imports.
To receive the duty-free and quota-free treatment for textile and apparel
products as described above, beneficiary countries must adopt an efficient visa
system to prevent unlawful transshipment. They also must work with the U.S.
Customs Service to report exports and prevent illegal trade. AGOA provided that the
Secretary of Commerce must monitor for surges in imports, with the possible
withdrawal of duty-free treatment if imports surge beyond a certain level.
Developments Following Enactment of AGOA. AGOA was enacted on
May 18, 2000. On October 2, 2000, President Clinton recognized the first AGOA
beneficiary countries. He identified 34 out of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries
as eligible for AGOA benefits. On December 21, 2000, he granted GSP duty-free
treatment to more than 1,800 items from AGOA-eligible countries. These items were
selected after public review, advice from the International Trade Commission, and
interagency review and recommendation. (These 1,800 items are in addition to about
During 2001, the Administration declared that 12 AGOA countries had met the
additional requirements for duty-free and quota-free treatment for apparel and
textiles. Ten of the 12 countries qualified for the provisions for less-developed
countries (LDCs) (see the fourth bullet on the preceding page). Early in 2001, in
response to interim regulations that the U.S. Customs Service had issued in October
2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 59,668), some legislators protested that the interim regulations
denied duty-free benefits for knit-to-shape articles, contrary to what they said was the35
intent of the act.
AGOA requires that the President monitor and report annually on the progress
of each country in meeting the terms for AGOA-eligibility. Under this requirement,
President Bush has made, at the end of each year, annual designations of the
countries eligible for AGOA benefits for the following year. The last such
designation was in June 2007, when President Bush designated Mauritania as eligible
for AGOA benefits.
Amendments to AGOA. Congress passed legislation to amend AGOA four
times since its initial passage. In 2002, Congress amended AGOA for the first time
through the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210). An important change pertained to the
cap that AGOA had set on imports of apparel assembled in an AGOA country from
fabric made in an AGOA country (see the third bullet under Textiles and Apparel
above). The Trade Act of 2002 doubled this cap, increasing it to 7% in FY2008. The
act, however, left the cap unchanged at 3.5% under the special rule for lesser-
developed countries. The act also allowed Namibia and Botswana to qualify for the
35 On March 6, 2001, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means
Committee and 8 other Members from both parties wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury
saying that the U.S. Customs Service interpretation of benefits for knit-to-shape articles was
“wrong.” See, Text: Ways and Means AGOA Letter to O’Neill, Inside U.S. Trade, March
special rule for lesser-developed countries, even though their per capita incomes
exceed the limit set under AGOA.
The Trade Act of 2002 specifically extended AGOA benefits to knit-to-shape
articles and to garments cut in both the United States and an AGOA beneficiary
country (“hybrid cutting”). It also made a correction to extend AGOA benefits to
merino wool sweaters knit in AGOA beneficiary countries.
The Trade Act included other related provisions. It stated that U.S. workers
could be found eligible for trade adjustment assistance, if U.S. production shifted to
an AGOA beneficiary country and other conditions were met.36 It authorized $9.5
million to the Customs Service for textile transshipment enforcement, and specified
that two permanent positions be assigned to South Africa for AGOA enforcement
and additional travel funds be allocated for verification in sub-Saharan Africa. It also
required that $1.317 million of the Customs Service budget be spent on programs to
help sub-Saharan African countries develop visa and anti-transshipment systems.
In July 2004, Congress amended AGOA further through the AGOA
Acceleration Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-274). This legislation extended the deadline for
AGOA benefits to 2015, and it also extended the special rule for LDCs from
September 2004 to September 2007. It further stipulated that the cap on the volume
of allowable U.S. apparel imports under this rule would be decreased starting in the
year beginning September 2004, with a major reduction in the year beginning
October 2006 (from 2.9% to 1.6%). The rationale behind this change was to
encourage fabric production and vertical integration of the apparel industry in Africa.
For apparel imports meeting the yarn forward rules of origin, the cap is to remain at
7% until the expiration of the benefits in 2015. The legislation also clarified certain
apparel rules of origin to reflect the intent of Congress. Apparel articles containing
fabric from both the United States and AGOA beneficiary countries were specifically
allowed, as were otherwise eligible apparel articles containing cuffs, collars, and
other similar components that did not meet the strict rules of origin. There was also
clarification that ethnic printed fabric would qualify for duty free treatment, as long
as the fabric met certain standards regarding its size, form, and design characteristics.
In addition, apparel articles containing fabrics and yarns recognized in the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as being in short supply in the United
States were declared as eligible for duty free treatment, regardless of the source of
such fabric and yarns. The legislation also increased the maximum allowable content
of non-regional or non-U.S. fibers or yarns in AGOA eligible apparel imports,
otherwise known as the de minimis rule, from 7% to 10%.
The AGOA Acceleration Act included a number of directives for the President.
One such directive was to provide agricultural technical assistance by assigning U.S.
personnel to at least 10 AGOA beneficiary countries, to help exporters meet U.S.
technical standards for agricultural imports. Another directed the President to
develop policies to encourage investment in agriculture and agricultural processing,
36 For more information, see CRS Report RS22718, Trade Adjustment Assistance for
Workers (TAA) and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance for Older Workers (ATAA), by
John J. Topoleski.
as well as investment in infrastructure projects aimed at improving transportation and
communication links both within Africa and between Africa and the United States.
There was also a directive to foster improved relationships between African and U.S.
customs and transportation authorities. An additional directive was to encourage
technical assistance and infrastructure projects to assist in the development of the
ecotourism industry in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, another directed the President
to conduct a study on each beneficiary country, identifying potential sectors for
growth, barriers to such growth, and how U.S. technical assistance can assist each
country in overcoming these barriers.
In December 2004, the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of
2003 (P.L. 108-429) was passed, which contained a technical correction to the
AGOA Acceleration Act. The legislation also allowed Mauritius to qualify for the
special rule for LDCs for the one year beginning October 1, 2004, with a cap of 5%
of total eligible imports under this rule.
Congress passed the Africa Investment Incentive Act of 2006 in December 2006
(Title VI of P.L. 109-432). This act extends the special rule for LDCs which allows
textiles and apparel quota- and duty-free access to the U.S. market regardless of the
source of materials used, as long as assembly takes place within an AGOA-eligible
LDC. The special rule for LDCs would have expired in 2007, but this act extends it
to 2012 and increases the cap on square meter equivalents under this rule back to the
initial level of 3.5%. This act also contains an “abundant supply” provision
stipulating that if a certain fabric is determined by the U.S. International Trade
Commission to be available in commercial quantities in AGOA beneficiary
countries, then the special rule will no longer apply to apparel and textiles containing
that particular fabric.
Current Beneficiaries. At present, 41 sub-Saharan African countries are
designated as AGOA-eligible. Of the 41 countries that may receive trade benefits,
26 have met the additional requirements to receive duty-free treatment for their
textile and apparel products, and of those, 24 qualify for the special rule for lesser-
developed countries (all but South Africa and Mauritius). See Table 1 for a list of
sub-Saharan African countries and their status under AGOA.
Table 1. Country Status under AGOA
(as of October 28, 2008)
Not Designated as EligibleCentral African Republic; Côte d’Ivoire; Equatorial
(7 countries)Guinea; Eritrea; Somalia; Sudan; Zimbabwe.
AGOA Eligible Only; NotAngola; Burundi; Comoros; Republic of the Congo;
Eligible under ApparelDemocratic Republic of Congo; Djibouti; Gabon; The
Provision (15 countries)Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mauritania;
Sao Tome and Principe; Seychelles; Togo.
AGOA Eligible, EligibleMauritius; South Africa
for Apparel Provision,
Special Rule Does Not
Apply (2 countries)
AGOA Eligible, EligibleBotswana; Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Cape
under Apparel Provision,Verde; Chad; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Lesotho;
and Special Rule AppliesMadagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia;
(24 countries) Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone;
Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia
Source: AGOA website maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce and USTR at
[ h t t p : / / www. a g o a . g o v ] .
AGOA Trade Trends. Imports under AGOA have comprised an increasingly
significant share of all U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa, and are growing. In
2007, AGOA imports (including imports allowed under GSP) were $51.1 billion, or
76% of total U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa of $66.9 billion. Considering the
AGOA-eligible countries only, rather than the entire region, U.S. imports under
AGOA were 79% of all U.S. imports from those countries in 2007. From 2006 to
Imports under AGOA have been predominately energy-related products. This
sector accounted for 93% of AGOA imports in 2007, which is similar to previous
years. Not surprisingly, since petroleum is by far the major product imported under
AGOA, Nigeria, a leading oil producer, is the major import supplier under AGOA.
Nigeria supplied 59% of AGOA imports in 2007, and together with Angola (23%)
accounted for 82% of all AGOA imports last year (including GSP). In comparison,
18 AGOA-eligible countries each exported less than $1 million under AGOA
(including GSP), as a group accounting for 0.01% of all AGOA imports. Five of
these countries (Benin, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Seychelles)
exported nothing under AGOA. The other 14 countries in this group were Burkina
Faso, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger,
Rwanda, Senegal, Sao Tome & Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic
Under AGOA, the President was required to establish within a year of
enactment, after consultation with Congress and the other governments concerned,
a United States-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum
(hereafter called the Forum). The act stated that the President was to direct certain
top officials to host the first Forum meeting with their counterparts from AGOA-
37 Data from the International Trade Commission website, at [http://dataweb.usitc.gov].
eligible countries and countries attempting to meet AGOA eligibility requirements.38
The purpose of the Forum meeting is to “discuss expanding trade and investment
relations between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa and the implementation
of [AGOA] including encouraging joint ventures between small and large
AGOA also required the President to encourage non-governmental
organizations and the private sector to hold similar annual meetings, and it required
the President to instruct U.S. delegates to the Forum to promote a review of
HIV/AIDS in each sub-Saharan African country and the effect on economic
development. It required the President to meet, to the extent practicable, with heads
of governments of sub-Saharan African countries at least every two years to discuss
expanding trade and investment relations, and the first such meeting should be within
one year of enactment.
AGOA was enacted May 18, 2000, and almost a year later, on May 16, 2001,
President Bush established the Forum and announced plans for its first meeting in
Washington in October 2001. The first Forum was held October 29-30, 2001, in
Washington, D.C. President Bush addressed the Forum and announced several
initiatives: (1) a $200 million Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
support facility to give U.S. firms access to loans, guarantees, and political risk
insurance for investment projects; (2) a regional office of the Trade and Development
Agency (TDA) in Johannesburg to help attract new investment; and (3) the Trade for
African Development and Enterprise Program, initially funded at $15 million, to
establish regional hubs to help African businesses in the global market. (These
initiatives were implemented; see later sections.)
The second Forum was held January 13-17, 2003, in Port Louis, Mauritius. In
a videotaped message, President Bush announced that he would ask Congress to
extend AGOA beyond its 2008 deadline. He also outlined other U.S. support for
Africa, including assignment of U.S. agricultural officials to the regional business
hubs established after the first Forum; a FY2004 budget request for a 50% increase
in development assistance; and an additional $200 million over five years for
education and teacher training to the region.
The third Forum was held December 9-10, 2003, in Washington, DC. The
fourth Forum took place in Dakar, Senegal, from July 18-20, 2005. President Bush
addressed the fourth Forum through videotaped remarks, and he announced the
African Global Competitiveness Initiative, which was to provide $200 million over
the next five years to improve the competitiveness of African countries and build
their capacity to trade. The fifth Forum was held June 6-7, 2006, in Washington, DC.
The sixth forum was held in Accra, Ghana, July 18-19, 2007. For the first time, the
sixth Forum combined all three sectors (government, private, and civil society) into
38 Representatives from appropriate sub-Saharan African regional organizations and
government officials from other appropriate countries in sub-Saharan Africa also could be
Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building
AGOA legislation directed the President to target U.S. government technical
assistance and trade capacity building in AGOA beneficiary countries (Sec. 122).
This mandate includes assistance to both government and non-governmental actors.
The act directs the President to target technical assistance to governments — (1) to
liberalize trade and exports; (2) to harmonize laws and regulations with WTO
membership; (3) to engage in financial and fiscal restructuring, and (4) to promote
greater agribusiness linkages. The act also includes assistance for developing private
sector business associations and networks among U.S. and sub-Saharan African
enterprises. Technical assistance is also to be targeted to increasing the number of
reverse trade missions, increasing trade in services, addressing critical agricultural
policy issues, and building capabilities of African states to participate in the World
Trade Organization, generally, and particularly in services. In FY2007, the United
States reported obligating approximately $505 million in trade capacity building
(TCB) assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, up from $401 million in 2006. The
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) accounted for about $376 million (74%)
of FY2007 TCB assistance for SSA, with $240 million obligated in Ghana and
another $136 million in Mali.39
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). AGOA’s mandate
to encourage trade related technical assistance is primarily implemented by USAID
through the African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI), a Presidential
Initiative which supplanted the Trade for African Development and Enterprise
(TRADE) initiative in 2006. The TRADE initiative had supplanted the Africa Trade
and Investment Policy Program (ATRIP), which operated from 1998 to 2003. These
initiatives are generally used to focus activities around a common goal, but there are
AGOA-related activities that are funded by other initiatives within USAID.
USAID funds various technical assistance programs throughout Africa aimed
at improving trade within the region and between the region and the United States.
USAID supports regional efforts through its regional missions and the four Regional
Hubs for Global Competitiveness (Trade Hubs), located in Ghana, Senegal, Kenya,
and Botswana. USAID bilateral missions support projects in individual African
countries. The missions and hubs work on improving trade policy both regionally
and within country governments. They also have programs to improve trade
infrastructure, such as in transportation and energy, and they have enterprise
development programs which often target specific industries, such as handicrafts and
As mentioned above, AGOA encourages the establishment of private sector
linkages between U.S. and SSA businesses. To this end, USAID funds an
international business linkage program, South African International Business
Linkages (SAIBL), which is implemented by the Corporate Council on Africa.
SAIBL assists black-owned South African companies to prepare business plans,
39 USAID Trade Capacity Building Database, [http://www.qesdb.cdie.org/tcb/index.html];
see also CRS Report RL33628, Trade Capacity Building: Foreign Assistance for Trade and
Development, by Danielle Langton.
achieve International Standards Organization (ISO) certification, participate in U.S.-
led trade delegations, attend trade shows in the United States, and identify public and
private sector export financing. It also assists U.S. firms by identifying trade and
investment opportunities in South Africa, by steering U.S. firms to appropriate
government and private sector contacts, and by identifying sources of financing.
USAID used to fund a similar linkage program for West Africa, the West African
International Business Linkages (WAIBL), but it no longer funds this program. The
regional trade hubs implement many of the same types of activities as SAIBL, except
that they focus more on promoting trade in general and not just exports to the United
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa (AUSTRA). Sec. 117
of AGOA supported the creation of this position to serve as the “primary point of
contact in the executive branch for those persons engaged in trade between the
United States and sub-Saharan Africa,” and the chief adviser to the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) on trade and investment issues pertaining to Africa. This
position previously had been established by President Clinton in 1998. One primary
function of AUSTRA is to make the yearly determinations as to which countries are
eligible for AGOA benefits generally, and also its special textile and apparel benefits.
The AUSTRA also sponsors projects for WTO training for SSA trade negotiators,
provides support for the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa, and maintains the
[http://www.agoa.gov] website. The AUSTRA produced the AGOA
Competitiveness Report, which was submitted to Congress on July 13, 2005.
Mandated by the AGOA Acceleration Act of 2004, this report provides an analysis
of potential economic growth sectors in Africa, barriers to growth in those sectors,
and recommendations for U.S. technical assistance to assist in overcoming those40
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Since the enactment
of AGOA, Sub-Saharan Africa has been one of OPIC’s stated priorities. At the end
of 2005, 15% of OPIC’s total portfolio was in the region. As of September 2006,
OPIC’s exposure in the region was over $1.8 billion. In FY2006, OPIC supported
14 projects in SSA, or 20% of the year’s 70 projects in total. OPIC has focused on
projects to strengthen the region’s basic financial infrastructure and housing sectors.41
OPIC works in Africa and globally through three basic products including
political risk insurance, finance (loan guarantees and direct loans), and investment
funds. In 2005, OPIC provided $250 million in financing to establish two private
equity investment funds in Africa. The first of these new funds is managed by
Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP), and it targets infrastructure investments and
related industries in Africa. The second fund, Ethos Fund V, aims to promote the
expansion of medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa, emphasizing South
Africa and the manufacturing and services sectors. These funds are in addition to
40 See AGOA Competitiveness Report, [http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Document_Library/
41 Report of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation on the Host Country Development
and U.S. Economic Effects of OPIC-Assisted Projects, Fiscal Year 2006. Submitted
pursuant to Section 240A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, March 2007.
three funds currently supported by OPIC, which are the $20 million Africa Growth
Fund, the $110 million Modern Africa Growth and Investment Fund, and the ZM
Africa Investment Fund. As initially planned, all three of these latter funds are
currently divesting their assets.
Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). AGOA expressed the sense of Congress to
continue to expand the bank’s financial commitments to its loan, guarantee and
insurance programs to African countries. The legislation also commended the Bank’s
sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee for its work in fostering economic
cooperation between the United States and SSA. This committee was reauthorized42
to September 30, 2011 (P.L. 109-438). The 2006 legislation reauthorizing the Bank
also requires the Bank to report annually on its efforts to improve its working43
relationship with the African Development Bank and other African institutions.
The Ex-Im Bank does not finance imports into the United States. However, it
does provide loans and guarantees for U.S. exports to the region, some of which can
be used to manufacture goods eligible for import to the United States under AGOA.
This financing can cover manufacturing equipment, the purchase of U.S. fabric, yarn,
and thread necessary for eligibility under AGOA textile provisions, or other raw
materials or components used for manufacturing. Ex-Im operates in all 48 SSA
countries, although Bank activity and eligibility for specific programs vary according
to risk factors. In FY2007, Ex-Im Bank authorized 127 transactions totaling about
$424 million in 18 SSA countries. According to its estimates, Ex-Im Bank covered
approximately 3.1% of the total $14.1 billion of U.S. exports to SSA. By contrast,44
Ex-Im typically covers about 1% of U.S. exports worldwide. In FY2006, Africa
accounted for about 2.8% of the total authorizations of the Bank. At the end of the
fiscal year, Ex-Im Bank’s exposure in SSA was about $2.5 billion, or 4.3% of its
total global exposure.45 By contrast in FY2002, Africa accounted for 2.3% of the
loan guarantees and 5% of the medium-term insurance instruments supported by the
Bank with a total exposure of $3.2 billion.46
In order to increase its lending activities in Africa, the Bank began its Africa
Pilot Program (STIPP) in 1999 to provide short-term export credit to sub-Saharan
African countries, many of whom are not eligible for other Ex-Im financial
instruments. This program was initially funded at $100 million. Ex-Im also
announced in 2000 a pilot program to provide export credits to African countries to47
purchase U.S. HIV/AIDS medicines. This program allows countries to extend
payment of these pharmaceutical purchases to five years from standard repayment
terms of six months. These export credits have covered two contracts valued at $15
42 Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act, 12 U.S.C. 635(b)(9)(B)(iii).
43 CRS Report RL33440, Export-Import Bank: Reauthorization, by James K. Jackson.
44 Ex-Im Bank Africa Update, January 2008.
45 Ex-Im Bank, 2006 Annual Report.
46 Ex-Im Bank, 2002 Annual Report.
47 See “Short-Term Africa Pilot Program,” [http://www.exim.gov/africa-i/afr02fac.html].
million for medicines and HIV detection equipment to Nigeria and Togo.48 In
addition, the Bank reported that as a result of Paris Club sovereign debt restructuring
negotiations, it had entered into agreements to restructure or to forgive public sector
debt obligations totaling $92 million with eight sub-Saharan African nations in
FY2002. These agreements wrote-off all of the Bank’s public sector debt exposure
in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.49
U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS). In Sec. 125 of AGOA,
Congress found that USFCS presence in SSA had been reduced since the 1980s and
that the level of staffing in 1997 (seven officers in four countries) did not “adequately
service the needs of U.S. businesses attempting to do business in sub-Saharan
Africa.”50 Accordingly, the legislation required the posting of at least 20 USFCS
officers in not less than 10 countries SSA by December 31, 2001 “subject to the
availability of appropriations.”51 USFCS was instructed by Congress to open offices
in Ghana and Senegal, with the stipulation that additional funds would be added to
its overall budget. According to a USFCS official, these additional funds never
materialized. Presently, USFCS has nine officers in six SSA countries: Côte
d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa.
Commercial Service officers seek to facilitate the development of markets for
U.S. exporters in the countries where they are stationed. Officers assisting U.S.
exporters provide evaluations of potential business partners in the country, facilitate
U.S. business contacts with local firms, identify potential local distributors or agents
of U.S. exports, provide local financing options, and arrange partner background
checks. Commercial Service officers also prepare the Country Commercial Guides
which chronicle the business environment of the country.
Sec. 125(c) of the legislation directs the International Trade Administration
(ITA) to develop an initiative (a) to identify the best U.S. export prospects to the
region; (b) to identify tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede U.S. exports to Africa;
(c) undertake discussions with African states to increase market access for these
goods and services. This activity is being carried out by the ITA in its Market Access
and Compliance Unit (MAC). The Unit states that U.S. firms face entrenched tariff
and other trade barriers in many African countries, and that its current staff of nine
staffers is not adequate to cover the SSA region. In FY2003, MAC was given budget
authority to add four analysts and negotiators to address these issues.52
Trade and Development Agency (TDA). Although not tasked with
specific directives in AGOA, the TDA contributes to trade capacity building in
Africa by funding project planning studies, including feasibility studies, training
programs and orientation visits (reverse trade missions in which foreign government
48 Conversation with Export-Import Bank Official, February 6, 2003.
49 Ex-Im, 2002 Annual Report, p. 39.
50 AGOA, Sec. 125(a)(4).
51 AGOA, Sec. 125(b).
52 International Trade Administration, “Budget Estimates FY2003,” Exhibit 13, p. 65;
Conversation with ITA official, March 6, 2003.
officials visit U.S. manufacturers). TDA targets activities that could generate
significant U.S. export potential, that could facilitate access to natural resources
important to the United States, and that are a priority for host nations and
international development efforts. In FY2006, TDA obligated funds for 62 projects
in SSA for a total of $10.6 million, or approximately 22% of its program
ex penditures. 53
Multilateral Initiatives. In addition to domestic agency programs, the United
States participates in several multilateral institutions that provide trade capacity
building in Africa and other developing country regions. The World Bank and
regional development banks all provide trade capacity building assistance, mainly in
the form of loans.
The Integrated Framework (IF) is the main multilateral initiative in trade
capacity building. It is a process that assists Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to
integrate trade issues into their national development strategies. The IF process
begins with a diagnostic study of trade challenges and opportunities in the LDC, and
is meant to result in better targeted and coordinated assistance by all donors. Six
international institutions collaborate on the IF, including the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), the International Trade Center (ITC), the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Program
(UNDP), the World Bank, and the WTO. The IF is funded by an IF Trust Fund,
composed of voluntary contributions from multilateral and bilateral donors. Total
contributions to this trust fund equaled $49.66 million as of March 2007, of which54
the United States contributed $800,000.
As of November 2007, 23 of the 29 LDCs which have completed the IF trade
diagnostic process were in sub-Saharan Africa. An additional six SSA countries (out
of 11 total) have started the diagnostic process, and three more (out of five total) are
under consideration to begin the IF process.
Several issues have been raised with regard to the IF. The IF was established
partly to achieve greater donor coordination, and it is not yet clear whether it will
have this effect. In many countries, coordination is an ad hoc activity, achieved as a
result of personal relationships rather than through institutional coordination. Thus
far, IF work has centered on preparing strategies for trade capacity building, and there55
has been little coordinated implementation of these strategies. Another concern is
that the IF process has raised expectations among the participating LDCs, and these
expectations may not be fulfilled by the IF process.
53 U.S. Trade and Development Agency, 2006 Annual Report.
54 See the Integrated Framework website, [http://www.integratedframework.org].
55 Susan Prowse, “Mega-Coherence: The Integrated Framework,” Trade and Aid: Partners
or Rivals in Development Policy. Cameron May: 2006.
Regional Cooperation and Free Trade Agreements
AGOA declares the policy position that free trade agreements (FTAs) should be
negotiated, where feasible, between interested countries in SSA and the United States
in order to serve as a catalyst for increasing trade and investment. Regional
economic agreements among SSA countries are also encouraged in AGOA.
Discussion of potential partners for free-trade agreements has revolved around
South Africa and SACU, but several other regional groupings may prove to be
partners for future trade agreements with the United States. The Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the West African
Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have all taken steps to begin the process
of economic integration, either through trade liberalization or through steps to
promote monetary union. While these groups are being encouraged in their attempts
at regional integration, they are not immediate prospects for FTAs with the United
States. Background on these groups appears in an Appendix.
Southern African Customs Union FTA (SACU).56 On November 4, 2002,
USTR Robert B. Zoellick notified Congress that negotiations would be initiated with
the members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). These negotiations
began in June 2003, and were postponed indefinitely in April 2006. The United
States and SACU reportedly could not agree on the scope of the negotiations.
Currently, the United States and SACU are continuing talks for a Trade and
Investment Cooperation Agreement (TICA), which may lead to an eventual FTA.
The scope of the TICA is undefined, and may focus on some of the “behind the
border” issues from the FTA negotiations, such as intellectual property rights and
investment issues. The United States does not have a TICA with any other country
or group. A TICA may proceed without extension of Trade Promotion Authority57
(TPA), because it does not include the market access provisions of an FTA.
SACU is a customs union composed of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho,
Namibia, and Swaziland. The original SACU agreement dates from the colonial
government in 1910 and was renegotiated with the apartheid government in 1969.
A new agreement to more fully integrate the smaller states into decision-making for
the area, which was previously dominated by South Africa, was signed on October
a common external tariff, and the common revenue pool which is apportioned among
the member states.
A large degree of economic integration exists among the SACU states because
of the agreement, perhaps contributing to the U.S. decision to negotiate an FTA with
56 For more information, see CRS Report RS21387, United States - Southern African
Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement: Background and Potential Issues, by
57 For more information on TPA renewal, see CRS Report RL33743, Trade Promotion
Authority (TPA): Issues, Options, and Prospects for Renewal, by J. F. Hornbeck and
William H. Cooper.
SACU, rather than just South Africa. However, South Africa is the dominant
economy of the region, accounting for 87% of the population, and 92 % of the gross
domestic product of the customs area. U.S. merchandise exports to SACU totaled
$4.6 billion in 2006, led by aircraft, vehicles, construction and agricultural
equipment, and computers. U.S. merchandise imports from SACU totaled $8.4
billion, and were composed of minerals such as platinum, diamonds, titanium, iron
and steel, textiles and apparel, vehicles, and automotive parts.58
U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA). As of
September 2007, the United States has negotiated TIFAs with Ghana, Liberia,
Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa, and with the COMESA
and WAEMU regional arrangements. Generally, TIFAs commit the signatories to
expand trade of goods and services, to encourage private sector investment, and to
resolve problems and disputes through consultation and dialogue. To facilitate these
objectives, the signatories of each agreement have established a Council on Trade
and Investment to provide a venue for consultation on trade issues of interest or
concern to the parties, and to work toward the removal of impediments to trade and
investment flows. TIFAs are often considered to be first steps to the negotiation of
free trade agreements.
U.S. Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT). As of September 2007, the
United States has signed BITs with Cameroon, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville),
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Mozambique, and Senegal. The goals of
the BIT are to protect U.S. investments abroad, and to encourage market oriented
domestic policy in host countries. Generally, BITs ensure national treatment for U.S.
investments, limits on expropriations, free repatriation of funds, limitations on the
imposition of trade distorting or inefficient practices on U.S. investments-including
requirements in hiring, and the right of submission of investment disputes to
international arbitration. These treaties are promoted by the U.S. government as a
method of encouraging the development of international law and trade standards
within the partner country.
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). NEPAD is a key
policy vehicle of the African Union (AU), whose leaders formulated and adopted the
initiative in July 2001. Described by its proponents as a multi-sector, sustainable
development policy framework, NEPAD seeks to reduce poverty, increase economic
growth, and improve socio-economic development prospects across Africa. Major
NEPAD aims are to attract greater investment and development aid to Africa, reduce
the continent’s debt levels, and broaden global market access for African exports.
NEPAD emphasizes increased democratization, political accountability, and
transparency in governance in African states as primary means of achieving its59
58 U.S. International Trade Commission data website, at [http://dataweb.usitc.gov].
59 This paragraph was prepared by Nicolas Cook, Analyst in African Affairs. For more
information, see CRS Report RS21353, New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD), and CRS Report RS21332, The African Union, both by Nicholas Cook.
European Union Activity. By way of comparison, the European Union (EU)
has also been active in promoting trade between itself and the countries of sub-
Saharan Africa. The EU-South Africa Agreement on Trade, Development, and
Cooperation entered into force on January 1, 2000. This agreement creates a free-
trade area between the participants during a 12-year asymmetric transition period.
The EU pledges to remove tariffs on 95% of imports from South Africa during a 10-
year period with most products granted duty-free status in 2002. South Africa will
remove duties on 86% of its tariff lines during a 12-year period with most
eliminations occurring between 2006-2012. Notably, the agreement does not provide
tariff relief to several important South African agricultural exports, nor to aluminum.
The Cotonou Agreement, signed in Cotonou, Benin between the European
Union and 71 African, Caribbean, and Pacific nations (ACP) in February 2000,
extends non-reciprocal, duty-free access for industrial and processed agriculturalth
goods to the EU market granted by the 4 Lomé Convention to the end of 2007. The
extent of the duty-free access conferred by Cotonou was subsequently enhanced in
March 2001 by the “Everything but Arms” initiative, which granted LDCs tariff-free
access to all goods, except for sugar, rice, and bananas, for which products a tariff-
rate quota system will be maintained during a phase-out period ending in 2009.
Provisions of the Cotonou Agreement call for the negotiation of trade liberalization
agreements with regional economic partnerships that could include the regional
African groupings discussed in the Appendix. Preliminary negotiations on the
Regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) began on September 27, 2002
and were supposed to conclude before the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement on
December 31, 2007. Many African countries opposed signing EPAs because that
would mean opening up their markets to EU imports. In the end, a temporary
compromise was reached: most African countries signed “interim EPAs” to keep
their EU trade preferences as they were under the Cotonou Agreement.
AGOA: Current and Future Challenges
Several issues may be important to Congress in the oversight of AGOA. These
issues concern the termination of the WTO Multi Fibre Agreement, the
diversification of beneficiary country and industry participants, the continued
eligibility of certain countries for AGOA benefits, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the
participation of U.S. small business in AGOA.
!Termination of the Multi Fibre Agreement. Article 2 of the
WTO’s Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) terminated the
worldwide system of quotas for textile and apparel trade on January
1, 2005. Observers expressed concern that this would spell the end
of the African apparel assembly industry, because African producers
would be unable to compete on world markets without the quota-free
advantage. Over the past three years, apparel exports under AGOA
have declined, but the industry has not been completely decimated.
One reason is that the United States uses safeguard measures to
prevent market disruptions from heavy imports of textile and apparel
from China. Another explanation is that the United States still
imposes tariffs averaging 18% on most apparel articles, which gives
AGOA beneficiaries an advantage.60
!Diversification of AGOA Exports. While textile and
manufacturing industries make up a growing part of U.S. imports
under AGOA, these imports are dwarfed by AGOA imports from the
petroleum and mining sectors. These industries are highly
capitalized and do not provide extensive employment opportunities
for African workers. AGOA benefits are also concentrated in few
countries with 89% of 2005 AGOA imports originating in Nigeria,
Angola, and Gabon. Moreover, several AGOA-eligible countries
export very little under the program. If a goal of the program is to
increase African country participation, it may be achieved through
targeted trade capacity building and technical assistance.
Agriculture is an important source of income for African workers,
and increasing agriculture exports under AGOA may help raise
incomes and spur economic growth. African countries may also
begin to export light manufactures, with improved capacity,
infrastructure, and policies to encourage investment.
!Eligibility Standards. A country’s eligibility for AGOA benefits
may become a subject of controversy. Some observers feel that the
President must strictly enforce eligibility requirements to ensure
continued adherence to reforms. However, others have cited the
unpredictability of a country’s AGOA benefits from year to year as
a source of investment risk, and have suggested minimum eligibility
terms of greater than the current one year. Another suggestion
includes allowing Congress to override the President’s decision to
terminate AGOA benefits through legislation. Several countries
have been considered candidates for losing AGOA eligibility. In
December 2003, the President declared Eritrea and the Central
African Republic to be ineligible for AGOA. In December 2004,
Cote d’Ivoire was declared ineligible as well. Lesotho, which is
considered an AGOA success story, has been the subject of
persistent complaints from indigenous labor groups regarding
working conditions in newly developed textile plants. Swaziland has
received warnings from the State Department that its human rights
record does not meet AGOA eligibility requirements. Several
countries have questionable commitment to privatization and tariff
!HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is destabilizing the
economies of Africa and threatens any progress achieved by AGOA
as additional income is spent, not to raising living standards, but to
treat a population afflicted with the disease. Due to the disease, life
expectancy is falling in several AGOA eligible countries and in the
60 For more information on the ATC, see CRS Report RL34106, U.S. Clothing and Textile
Trade with China and the World: Trends Since the End of Quotas, by Michael F. Martin.
region as a whole. Even with the advantages that AGOA
preferences confer, investors may be deterred from the region by
high medical costs, by constant replacement of workers stricken with
the disease and the attendant training costs, and by the destabilizing
risks associated with a society containing a large, dying population.
!Small Business Participation. Small business accounts for about
55% of the U.S. GDP, and employs a large portion of American
workers. U.S. small businesses, however, only participate in limited
trade with Africa, and reportedly very few in the small business
community know about AGOA. Some observers have noted that
U.S. small businesses may benefit from AGOA, and in the process
help provide avenues for diversifying African exports. Small
business is also important in Africa, and increased partnership may
result in better participation on both continents. The U.S.
government may become involved in increasing awareness of
AGOA among the small business community, and providing
opportunities for partnership.
Regional Economic Integration Among Sub-
Saharan Africa Nations
Southern African Development Community (SADC). This group is
composed of the nations of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,
Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Originally formed by front-line states
to lessen economic dependence on the apartheid regime in South Africa, the group
expanded to include South Africa in 1994. The 1996 Protocol on Trade committed
each signatory to remove duties and non-tariff barriers to SADC members within 12
years, to provide national treatment for each other’s goods, to bind existing tariffs at
The economic dominance of South Africa makes economic integration of the
SADC region more problematic. South Africa accounts for 82% of the GDP of the
region, and it comprises 62% of the region’s intra-SADC imports and 70% of the
SADC region’s exports.61 With per-capita income at approximately $3,000, it dwarfs
the average per-capita income of many of the other states. In addition, smaller states
within SADC are concerned about their lack of economic competitiveness as their
home markets are opened up to goods from South Africa. The reliance of many
governments on duty revenue has also become a source of concern in implementing
reductions of tariff barriers.
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Founded in 1982 as the Preferential Trade Area of Eastern and Southern Africa,
current member states of the COMESA include Angola, Burundi, Comoros,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya,
Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda,
Zambia and Zimbabwe. On October 31, 2000, nine states of COMESA (Djibouti,
Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe)
launched a free trade area that eliminated tariffs on goods originating in the member
states. These states have also worked towards establishing coordinated policies in
other areas such as rules-of-origin, dispute settlement, applications of safeguard
measures, and uniform customs procedures. The group agreed on a common external
tariff in May 2007, and intends to launch a customs union at the end of 2008. The
goal of monetary union by 2025 is expected to be advanced by the introduction of
limited currency convertibility and improved coordination of fiscal and monetary
policy during this time period.
East African Community (EAC). Comprised of Kenya, Uganda, and
Tanzania, this organization seeks to revive historic tariff-free trade that had been
established among the three British colonies in 1923. However, this cooperation
broke down in the 1970s due to widespread transhipments and the varied economic
paths of its participants. The three countries re-established the community in 1999
61 Beverly M. Carl, Trade and the Developing World in the 21st Century (Ardsley, NY:
Transnational Publishers, 2001), p. 205.
and have made plans for an asymmetric tariff schedule, in which Kenya will
immediately reduce its tariff to zero, while Uganda and Tanzania will have four years
in which to reciprocate. The outlook for this grouping is also complicated by a
dominant country presence. Most industrial trade in the bloc originates from Kenya,
and there is little bilateral trade between Tanzania and Uganda. Nonetheless, two
neighboring countries, Rwanda and Burundi, have been invited to join.
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). This grouping
was originally created to administer the CFA franc (Communauté financière
africaine), a currency formerly tied to the French franc prior to its disappearance in
Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Guinea-Bissau, the sole non-
francophone member. The member states have espoused the long-term goal of a full
economic union with a common market, macroeconomic convergence, regulatory
harmonization, and a common investment policy. A preferential tariff arrangement
was concluded for member states in 1995, and a customs union with a common
external tariff of 22% became operational in 2000. While the WAEMU countries
have achieved a relatively high degree of integration, it has been reported that intra-
member trade has not greatly expanded. As in other areas, regional conflicts have
interrupted the consolidation of economic gains.