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U.S. launches new African trade partnership with sub-Saharan region

East African Community

East African Community

President Obama announced on Monday the launch of Trade Africa, a partnership between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa that seeks to boost trade within Africa and expand economic ties between the continent and the U.S.

The partnership will initially focus on members of the East African Community, including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, which have a population of more than 130 million people. The five EAC member states have seen increasingly stable and pro-business regulations and are home to local enterprises that have developed creative partnerships with multinational firms.

Intra-EAC trade has doubled in the past five years, and the area’s GDP has quadrupled in just 10 years, reaching $80 billion.

The initial phase of Trade Africa seeks to double intra-regional trade in the EAC, boost EAC exports to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act by 40 percent, reduce port export time to land-locked nations by 15 percent and reduce a truck’s average transit time by 30 percent.

Trade Africa will build on the U.S.-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership. U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman said the U.S. exports $22 billion in goods and imports about $50 billion, most of which is oil and minerals, allAfrica reports.

Froman also said non-oil trade under AGOA has tripled but added that the amount is small.

“As we’ve reached the period of time where we want to renew AGOA, we’re going to take a hard look at what has worked well, what hasn’t worked well, how to improve upon our experience with AGOA so that we can increase the non-oil-related trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa,” Froman said.

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