Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gambian entrepreneurs urge to take advantage of AGOA


The business communities in the Gambia and beyond are urged to take advantage and explore the numerous opportunities and potentials that the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act –AGOA has to offer.

The AGOA, which was signed into law in 2000 by the United States government, offers a competitive advantage for about 7000 different African-made products to enter the American markets duty free and quota free.  It has also given trade preference to countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reform.

AGOA benefits are obviously very meaningful, but actually taking advantage of them is sometimes difficult for entrepreneurs.  Providing practical information on AGOA helps ensure that everyone can benefits from the trade preferences it offers.  In cognizant of this, the CADIA Institutes and Academics are currently embarking on a tour of Africa dubbed ‘Green Africa – North’ from 2011 to 2020 to further expose the potentials of AGOA and how to utilized it numerous advantages as well as to take ownership of it.

As part of the tour, which is headed by Prof. Darryl R.O. Prevost, executive director of CADIA Institutes and Academies, the delegates will be holding seminars, conferences, symposia in almost all AGOA eligible countries and with all stakeholders involved in the AGOA processing including the government, and the businessmen and women.

The delegation is currently in The Gambia where it will be holding talks with different stakeholders including the Ministry of Tourism, the media, and the business community.

During the meeting with the media personnel, held on Thursday, Prof Darryl explained that for the past 10 years, Africans are not taking advantage of the AGOA.  He said some of the African entrepreneurs may be encountering some challenges which would include not knowing the ways to explore the potentials of AGOA, which is what the Green Africa tour wants to break and give the business community the necessary information that is needed to advantage of AGOA.  

“In this way, we hope that this time around Africans would have the necessary information to explore and take ownership of AGOA,” the professor said.

Kenya has the best example and best success story on AGOA for Africa. 
Prof Darryl emphasized that other countries can do more that what Kenya did “if they explore the potentials and take ownership of AGOA”.  

“The Gambia has really a lot to offer in terms of AGOA,” he said, citing fish and seafood, processed food, textile and apparel as potentials sectors for the Gambia that the entrepreneurs can exploit and be exporting to the US market in huge quantities.

It is believe that AGOA promotes increased trade and economic cooperation between the United States and eligible African countries.

The Gambia became eligible for AGOA in 2002 and eligibility has been renews annually ever since.  The country is also eligible for the Textile Visa – an additional requirement governing the export of textile and apparel under AGOA. 

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