JOHANNESBURG - Africa must take steps to increase utilisation of its benefits under the United States' African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as to deepen trade and investment relationships with the world's biggest economy, South Africa's economic development, trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel said on Monday.
Patel, who chaired one of the sessions as a consultative meeting of African ministers in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, also highlighted the need to aligning trade partnerships to the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
AGOA is a trade preference programme that aims to enhance market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, on condition that they work towards improving rule of law, human rights and respect for core labour standards.
The Abidjan meeting was held in preparation of an August 5-6 AGOA forum between trade ministers from sub-Saharan Africa and US officials to discuss a new paradigm to guide relations.
"This is the first AGOA forum since the launch of the operational phase of the ACFTA, the potential economic game changer for our continent and the realisation of the decades old dream of the African economic unity," Patel said.