Cosatu’s Matthew Parks says the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum is an important opportunity for South Africa to grow the economy and also work on dealing with major issues, such as unemployment.
The AGOA Forum started yesterday and will run until Saturday at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec.
The United States and 35 sub-Saharan African countries are deliberating on critical challenges impacting on trade opportunities between the US and Africa.
The forum will also play a role in strengthening investment and trade ties between the US and sub-Saharan Africa.
Parks says the union supports government’s efforts to extend South Africa’s membership in AGOA, host the AGOA Summit and enhance the scope of products covered to further incentivise the economic and industrial development.
As South Africa’s retention is currently subject to review as AGOA expires in 2025, Cosatu says being part of the pact has had a positive impact upon not only on the country, but Africa as a whole.
The union says US companies are vital because they locally support 450 000 South African jobs; but even more indirect local jobs in the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors benefit from our large volumes of exports to the US.
In a statement, the union pointed out that key trade and investment partners for South Africa include the world’s leading economies, in particular the United States (US), the European Union, China and Japan. It says the pact, provides reduced tariff access for large volumes of South African goods to the US market, currently the world’s largest economy.
The forum comes as the country has been criticised for it’s supposed support for Russia and China – and also its stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
South Africa will host the 20th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from 2 to 4 November 2023.
The theme for this year’s Forum is, “Partnering to Build a Resilient, Sustainable, and Inclusive AGOA to Support Economic Development, Industrialization and Quality Job Creation”.
— South African Embassy Conakry (@SAEmbConakry) November 2, 2023
#AGOA Minister of Trade, Industry & Competition, Ebrahim Patel opens the African Trade Ministers’ consultative meeting on AGOA in Nasrec, JHB. Today marks the start of the 20th AGOA Forum held in South Africa. #eNCA pic.twitter.com/bKQvMSjXmy
— Siphamandla Goge (@SiphamandlaGoge) November 2, 2023
Meanwhile – this week US President Joe Biden announced the removal of the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger and Uganda from the major trade pact over concerns about coups, democracy and human rights.
Biden said in a letter to Congress that he is removing the four countries from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, from January 2024.
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris