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Rethinking the AGOA Model: How to Create a Pro-Structural Transformation of the U.S.-Africa Trade Partnership

  • Joy Kategekwa (a1)
Abstract

Seventeen years into the life of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), two key issues stand out: first, that the preference utilization rate—as indicated by the meagre increases in African exports to the United States—remains marginal; and second, that the AGOA initiative has not helped build diversified African economies. This reality in turn raises two critical issues: that Africa's structural challenges need to be addressed; and that extensions of the AGOA in and of themselves may not be the solution for the continent's economic development. Therefore, looking toward 2025 is an opportunity to have a fresh discussion with the United States, one focused on placing the African economic development challenge at the heart of the dialogue. This requires designing a new model grounded in Africa's aspirations for structural transformation of its economies from primary product to industrial product exporters.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 About AGOA, AGOA.info.

2 See AGOA Country Eligibility, AGOA.info.

4 Mwangi S. Kimenyi, AGOA Utilization 101, Brookings Institution (Mar. 23, 2015). UNCTAD corroborates the findings from the perspective of the composition of Africa's export basket: that in 2016, it remained dominated by commodities such as petroleum oils or bituminous products, food, and light manufacturing products. See Edward Chisanga, Mapping of Intra-African Trade Flows by Product Compared with the Rest of the World for 54 Countries (UNCTAD, forthcoming).

5 Kimenyi, supra note 4.

6 See World Trade Org., International Trade Statistics, 2015 at 40, 41.

7 See Kimenyi, supra note 4.

8 For more on the challenges of preferential schemes and the need for targeted industrial policy to maximize benefits, see Colette van der Ven, Where Trade and Industrial Policy Converge: How Developing Countries Can Utilize Trade Preferences to Generate Sustainable, Local Growth in the Garment Sector, Int'l Law. (Summer 2015).

9 Id. at 105. See also Ken Warwick, Beyond Industrial Policy: Emerging Issues and New Trends (OECD Science, Technology & Industry Policy Papers No. 2, 2013).

10 See UN Development Programme, Africa Human Development Report 2016 (Aug. 28, 2016).

11 On this, see also the other essays in this symposium.

13 For more on Agenda 2063, see What Is Agenda 2063?, African Union.

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  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2398-7723
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
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