The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has done little to build economies that work for all Africans but, if better utilized and combined with meaningful commitments to human rights and development, AGOA could undergird the establishment of strong, sustainable and diversified economies in sub-Saharan Africa, say 16 civil society organizations.
In a statement distributed today at the 17th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Washington, D.C., the organizations—among them trade unions and anti-poverty, religious, social justice and worker rights groups from Africa, Europe and the United States—called on African and U.S. governments to work more closely with civil society to ensure AGOA trade preferences benefit more than the elite. The forum is attended by trade ministers from sub-Saharan African countries benefiting from AGOA and U.S. government representatives.
The Solidarity Center is among the signatories to the statement, which offers recommendations on economic diversification, worker rights, human rights and closing civil society space, gender equality and corruption.
AGOA, enacted in 2000, has been renewed through 2025. The legislation provides U.S. market access to sub-Saharan African countries that demonstrate efforts to protect worker and human rights, reduce poverty, combat corruption and respect the rule of law.