Ethiopia Prepares national strategy to benefit more from AGOA opportunities

 Emnet Assefa

Ethiopia is preparing a national strategy to benefit from American Growth Opportunities for Africa (AGOA) trade opportunities say Girma Biru, Ethiopian Ambassador to United States of America.

The Ambassador after the opening of AGOA 2013 forum at the African Union Commission told reporters that a national strategy that enables Ethiopia to make best use out of trade opportunities such as AGOA 2013 is under way. “We are now preparing this country specific strategy in order to make best use out of these opportunities,” he said, indicating that only few countries have prepared such a specific national strategy.

The new national strategy, according to the Ambassador, aims to solve problems related to supply constraints and market competitiveness which is said to be  the main challenge African countries share in common hindering them  to benefit from AGOA.

According to Ambassador Girma, AGOA isn’t the only market opportunity that Ethiopia should look in to. “American market have lots of opportunities to explore, we shouldn’t be limited to AGOA but also others such as Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)”,  he said.

Ethiopia is one of the countries that uses the AGOA opportunity in exporting items to the US market even though it has been criticized for having a low market share. The Ambassador doesn’t agree with the criticisms that Ethiopia’s export receipt have shown increase of only 80 per cent annually on average ever since the country started to use benefits of AGOA opportunities.

“Ethiopia is among the countries that have the highest export rate compared to other African countries,” he says, but admitted that the performance is low compared to what the opportunity offers. Ethiopia is the sixth country to host the AGOA forum in Africa and these discussions were hoped to pave the way for the Obama administration to work with the Congress and other stakeholders on AGOA’s extension beyond the scheduled date on 30the Sept. 2015 possibly for the next 15 years.

AGOA enables 39 eligible sub-Saharan African countries to export products duty-free to the United States market.


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