Namibia and the USA set to forge stronger economic ties through AGOA

Niël Terblanché

Namibia and the United States of America (USA) are working towards enhancing their economic relations, marked by substantial support and trade growth under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Since 2017, the USA has directly supported Namibian firms, facilitating exports worth more than N$30 million to the USA through AGOA.

According to Randy Berry, the USA’s Ambassador to Namibia, the country has witnessed a notable surge in exports to the USA, with charcoal exports from The Global Charcoal Company, utilizing sustainably harvested Namibian wood, being a significant contributor.

Besides charcoal, other top exports to the USA from Namibia include agricultural products, chemicals, minerals, and metals.

Ambassador Berry urged Namibian businesses to explore opportunities under AGOA to expand sales, provide more employment, and benefit local communities.

He noted that the US government assisted Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialization and Trade in developing the National AGOA Utilization Strategy in 2021 through consultations with key sectors.

However, AGOA, initially signed into law more than two decades ago by former US President Bill Clinton, is set to expire in 2025.

Ambassador Berry assured Namibians of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full support for reauthorizing AGOA, emphasizing that the U.S. Congress holds the authority for reauthorization.

“The administration is committed to working closely with Congress to ensure the legislation remains impactful and relevant,” he said.

Ambassador Berry stressed the need to continually use, test, and refine policy tools like AGOA. This purpose will be realized through the 2023 AGOA Forum, scheduled from November 2nd to November 4th in Johannesburg, South Africa. The upcoming forum offers Namibia a valuable opportunity to enhance its economic engagement with the USA.

The AGOA Forum annually brings together the U.S. Trade Representative and trade ministers from AGOA-participating countries to assess their collaborative efforts and identify ways to enhance AGOA’s effectiveness.

It also convenes a broader community comprising government officials, civil society leaders, labour representatives, and private sector investors to discuss ways to boost trade between Africa and the USA for the mutual benefit of both regions.

Ambassador Berry pointed out that AGOA provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for more than 6,800 different products, creating employment and new economic opportunities, particularly for women and youth across Africa.

“AGOA is a trade tool that promotes inclusive prosperity by upholding core values such as the rule of law, respect for human rights, anti-corruption measures, and workers’ rights,” he said.

AGOA has become a cornerstone for strengthening economic ties between Namibia and the USA, fostering trade, economic growth, and shared prosperity.

Ambassador Berry indicated that the USA is committed to extending AGOA’s reach beyond 2025.

“It remains an essential instrument for promoting trade as a force for good across Sub-Saharan Africa and Namibia,” he said.

Related Posts