.S. resolve to claw back lost influence in Africa will be put to the test this week when dozens of the continent’s leaders and officials gather for talks with their American counterparts in Washington between December 13 and 15, 2022.
Through the summit, the U.S. is attempting to strengthen its ties with Africa as it competes for influence with China, America’s largest trading partner, and Russia, which has deepened its relations with the region as western nations tried to isolate it over the Ukraine invasion. The summit provides a “sweet spot on AGOA going forward” to have a conversation on the implementation of the free-trade agreement, said Constance Hamilton, the assistant US trade representative for Africa.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will be discussed at the summit and at a later meeting with lawmakers. Since its enactment in 2000, AGOA has been at the core of U.S. economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa. AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products, in addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
To meet AGOA’s rigorous eligibility requirements, countries must establish or make continual progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process. Additionally, countries must eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption, and protect human rights.