Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa – twentieth AGOA Discussion board Opening Ceremony

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Deal with by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the opening ceremony of the twentieth AGOA Discussion board, 3 November 2023, Johannesburg Expo Centre

Minister of Commerce, Trade and Competitors of South Africa, Mr Ebrahim Patel,

United States Commerce Consultant, Ambassador Katherine Tai,

African Union Commissioner for Financial Growth, Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Minerals, Mr Albert Muchanga,

Secretary Basic of the African Continental Free Commerce Space Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene,

African Ministers of Commerce from AGOA-eligible nations,

US Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves,


Authorities Officers,

Enterprise leaders from African nations and the US,

Leaders of organised labour,

Leaders of civil society,

Distinguished Company,

Good Morning,

I want to warmly welcome to South Africa the distinguished delegates from the US led by US Commerce Consultant Ambassador Katherine Tai and the Commerce Ministers and their delegations from throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

This twentieth AGOA Discussion board is going down at an essential second. It’s going down at a time when the world is dealing with each nice difficulties and priceless alternatives.

This Discussion board is going down on a continent of huge potential.

Africa has nice reserves of essential minerals, a youthful inhabitants, excessive ranges of urbanisation and an more and more networked inhabitants.

As African nations, we’re dedicated to the industrialisation of our economies.

By transferring up the value-chain, we create extra jobs, add extra worth right here on the African continent and enhance the lives of greater than 1.3 billion folks.

Africa is a vital supply of essential uncooked supplies, however we don’t need to be outlined as merely the producers of commodities.

The good industrial alternative lies as a substitute within the transformation of rock and steel into the subtle industrial and client items that societies internationally want.

We look ahead to the US working with African nations to foster an investment-led strategy that goals to diversify worldwide provide chains of essential minerals by beneficiating these assets right here on the African Continent.

We glance to proceed to make use of commerce as an instrument to facilitate industrialisation, job creation and inclusive development.

We search for companions to help us in our improvement. We worth the connection with the US, the world’s largest nationwide market, and a rustic with which we’ve relationships that go nicely past commerce.

The African Development and Alternative Act – or AGOA – has served because the cornerstone of the US-Africa business relationship for greater than 20 years.

Whereas the laws’s unilateral commerce preferences have supplied financial advantages for nations throughout sub-Saharan Africa, AGOA as a complete stays underutilised.

The laws has helped to advertise manufactured exports into the US, however a lot extra may be finished.

The early reauthorisation and renewal of AGOA, with a selected concentrate on how AGOA may be improved, will assist to make sure that the AGOA laws achieves its aims and reaches its full potential.

An early renewal may help to strengthen commerce and funding.

On the identical time, we see potential to reinforce AGOA with reforms that can add extra merchandise and can make it simpler for small and medium-sized companies to make use of it.

Whereas all 35 eligible Sub-Saharan African nations stand to learn from AGOA, utilisation charges differ broadly.

Kenya and Lesotho have had a number of the highest AGOA utilisation charges.

Eighty-eight % of Kenyan exports and 99 % of Lesotho’s exports to the US certified for zero-tariff therapy.

When excluding exports of crude oil underneath AGOA, the info reveals that the programme has considerably improved the export competitiveness of sure African merchandise, particularly textiles and attire.

Attire exports from Lesotho, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Madagascar and Kenya haven’t solely led to the creation of tens of hundreds of jobs however these nations have turn into dependable producers for American customers.

Different elements of producing have additionally seen success underneath AGOA.

South Africa’s auto exports to the US underneath AGOA have contributed to job creation in South Africa and within the auto provide chain inside neighbouring nations.

For example, South African automotive firms supply leather-based automotive seats from Lesotho and wiring harnesses from Botswana.

These firms supply copper wire from Zambia, rubber from Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana and Cameroon, and steering wheel parts from Tunisia.

These are then put in in automobiles which might be exported to the US underneath AGOA.

These inputs alone accounted for greater than $200 million price of merchandise traded amongst African nations.

On this respect AGOA makes a significant contribution to regional industrial improvement and the mixing of African economies.

That is essential to constructing Africa’s productive capacities, growing value-addition per capita, in addition to diversifying commerce past the reliance on commodities.

The exports underneath AGOA can complement the efforts of African nations themselves by way of the African Continental Free Commerce Space.

The Continental Free Commerce Space is our engine for elevated commerce with one another.

We have now made very substantial progress and we count on to begin commerce underneath the brand new preferences shortly.

The duty-free quota-free market entry supplied by the US underneath AGOA may be additional leveraged to advertise funding in Africa, together with from the US.

I’m glad that commerce ministers from throughout the continent have been in a position to meet and can have interaction with their counterparts and colleagues from the US.

We want you to take a look at the extension or renewal of AGOA for a sufficiently prolonged interval for it to behave as an incentive for traders to construct new factories on the African continent.

We consider there’s nice worth in retaining all beneficiary nations to construct on the rising regional worth chains which might be making a big contribution to the industrialisation of the African Continent.

A extra focused effort to advertise better ranges of funding may help to unlock AGOA’s alternatives.

We do, nonetheless, stay involved in regards to the adverse results that commerce restrictions on merchandise like metal, aluminium or citrus fruit have on AGOA utilisation charges.

We hope that the discussions at this Discussion board will assist lay the premise for these to be addressed in future.

Past the government-to-government discussions, we’re notably happy with the interactions which have taken place between non-public sector representatives, in addition to on the Labour Discussion board and Civil Society Discussion board.

I’m happy that that is the primary AGOA Discussion board at which a Labour Discussion board is held, bringing the voices of American and African staff collectively.