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US-Africa trade framework faces a crossroads

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Subject

Outlook for the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Significance

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the main channel for US-Africa trade for almost two decades, yet new developments have raised questions about both its current utility and its future prospects, as a growing number of African states have had their AGOA privileges rescinded or threatened, and US officials warn they may not extend AGOA beyond 2025.

Impacts

  • Individual FTAs could undermine African states’ infant industries, threatening livelihoods and possibly accelerating de-industrialisation.
  • US efforts to deliver a replicable ‘model’ FTA have faltered, diminishing the chances of securing FTAs across Africa before AGOA expires.
  • Cameroon’s loss of AGOA benefits is unlikely to change its human rights practices significantly.
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