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Namibia advocates for the combination of AGOA and AFCFTA

Namibia advocates for the combination of AGOA and AFCFTA

Windhoek Observer | 10th May 2024

By Erasmus Shalihaxwe

The Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu said Namibia is advocating for the establishment of a nexus between the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA)

According to Iipumbu, combining the two trade initiatives will be a game changer in terms of increasing the size of the market for African countries by creating an attractive environment for investment and allowing the continent to industrialise.

The minister was speaking at the Invest in Namibia session at the 16th US – Africa business summit that took place on Wednesday in Dallas, Texas in the United States of America.

She said Namibia is also calling for the inclusive extension of AGOA, which must include African Union member states that have signed and ratified the agreement establishing the AfCFTA. This is important because AfCFTA allows for cumulation among African countries and regional value chains to form and enable better utilisation of AGOA.

‘’It is our fervent hope that such cooperation around investments and entrepreneurship development will be the basic building block of ensuring the ultimate collaborations with the U.S are optimised fully. Competitiveness for Africa’s integration calls for frontloading digital capabilities that also support entrepreneurship.

In December 2022, a memorandum of understanding between the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the AfCFTA Secretariat vitally includes the ’advancement of industrial and regional value chain development ‘as a cooperation area. We are therefore advancing sector-focused policies and strategies mainstreaming the AfCFTA and addressing the capacity gap in the continent,’’ she said.

Iipumbu added that the creation of the AfCFTA is viewed as a stepping stone for the creation of capabilities that can help Africa integrate effectively into global value chains. In this instance, the support of the USA through various platforms such as AGOA is important in ensuring a competitive market outlet for African goods.

‘’In the same vein we should not forget the critical role of our micro, small and medium enterprises both in the informal and formal segments of our economies,’’ she urged.

Adding that similarly, for aspects pertaining to energy, critical examination of how leaders can leverage the USA – Africa cooperation should be at the forefront.

‘’Despite our extremely low per capita carbon emissions, energy poverty is extremely high and renewable investment levels into Africa are not necessarily optimal. To this end our USA – Africa cooperation should invest critically in the early stages of energy project development such as project preparation and innovative finance that can support early-stage risk capital,’’ she stated.

 source: Windhoek Observer