United States (US) Ambassador to Malawi, David Young, has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to continue supporting AGOA in Malawi, stressing that the implementation of the Growth Poles and the African Trade and Investment is a testament to that commitment.
The US is implementing the projects through its United States Aid for International Development (USAID) to equip businesses with skills that will help them explore market opportunities in the United States.
Young has therefore described the upcoming AGOA Forum scheduled to take place in South Africa this week as “a valuable moment in Malawi’s economic engagement with the United States”.
“AGOA is an example of how we can use trade as a force for good. To maintain eligibility, countries must uphold several values that are core to free and fair societies–rule of law, respect for human rights, combatting corruption, and protecting workers’ rights. And I look forward to a robust, forward-looking conversation — at the AGOA Forum and beyond,” wrote Young in his Op-Ed shared with Nyasa Times on Tuesday.
According to the envoy, Malawi ranks 15 out of 35 countries in Africa that have most utilized the AGOA trade window over the past 23 years.
He said since AGOA’s inception in 2000, Malawi has exported goods worth $1.55 billion (about K1.68 trillion) to the United States, with $1.15 billion (about K1.24 trillion) qualifying for AGOA preferences. Malawi’s exports to the United States through AGOA have increased by 6.5 percent from $15.9 million (about K17.23 billion) through June 2022 to $16.94 million (about K18.56 billion) as of June 2023.
“Malawi’s exports to the United States comprise mostly agricultural products such as tobacco, sugar, tea, and nuts,” he said, stressing that this is why the Biden-Harris Administration fully supports reauthorizing AGOA, as the benefits of the legislation are set to expire in 2025.
“The U.S. Congress holds the pen on reauthorization, and we are committed to working closely with Congress throughout the process to ensure this legislation is impactful and relevant,” he added.
Every year, the U.S. Trade Representative and trade ministers from every country that participates in AGOA come together to take stock of their work together and find opportunities to do more.
This convening is an opportunity to gauge progress to date and perhaps more importantly, discuss if we can improve AGOA to better serve more Africans and Americans. Not only that, the Forum is a catalyst to convene a broader community.
Government officials, civil society and labor leaders, and private sector investors all come together from across the Continent and the United States with a shared goal of using trade to create better opportunities.