Spring/2015                     NEWSLETTER
AGOA CSO Network Secretariat



Join the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network letter writing campaign for the timely re-authorization of AGOA. Now is the time to let your elected officials know that "We the People" want sustained and improved US-Africa trade and economic cooperation.    


This letter( below) will be sent to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House Ways and Means, Senate Finance and Senate Foreign Relations Committees 


The Honorable Sander Levin

Ranking Member, House of Representatives

Committee on Ways and Means

United States House of Representatives

2462 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Paul Ryan                             

Chairman, House of Representatives

Committee on Ways and Means

United States House of Representatives

2170 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin,


We, the members of the AGOA Civil Society Network, are writing to urge you to support a seamless and expeditious renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), slated to expire on September 30, 2015. Passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, with successive amendments by President George W. Bush in 2002 and 2004, AGOA now provides duty-free access to 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for 6,800 products. This first-ever trade measure has historically benefited from bipartisan support in addition to strengthening U.S. relations with African nations and fostering vital economic growth both here and on the continent.


We specifically request the following actions:  

  1. Reauthorize AGOA for 15 years until 2030. Currently, African countries are losing momentum as a result of the uncertainty for American corporations across sectors, but especially in the manufacturing of apparel. For African economies to benefit fully from AGOA and in order for both imports and exports to grow significantly, a strong and stable foundation has to be built which requires sufficient time for major investments to be amortized. The renewal of AGOA should also include extension of the third-country fabric rule for the full term of the renewal.
  2. Reauthorize AGOA for all AGOA eligible countries. In order for African economies to continue to grow, individual nations must not only thrive, but regions must grow stronger and collaborate. Economic integration requires strong alliances and partners. Withdrawing AGOA from certain economies will only weaken existing linkages, thus thwarting gains that have materialized or may materialize in the future.
  3. Act now for timely renewalIt is time to demonstrate that economic partnerships with African nations are important to the U.S. by not waiting until hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost to renew AGOA.In Lesotho alone, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost this month by primarily women due to the uncertainly of the re-authorization of AGOA.
  4. Fight for a democratic and stable Africa to counter terrorism.  There is no doubt that the scourge of terrorism is threatening countries in Africa with Boko Haram, Al Shabab and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.  Supporting sound, democratic economies is far less costly and far more productive than fighting the contagion of terrorism in many instances exacerbated by poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.

Prompt renewal of AGOA also protects jobs in America that are dependent upon trade with Africa. According to the U.S. Commerce International Trade Administration, "While U.S. exports to the world grew by 2.8 percent, U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa (mostly composed of machinery and aircraft) increased by 6 percent, reaching $25.4 billion." AGOA encourages export led economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa and also serves as an incentive for African governments to liberalize trade policies and to engage in financial and fiscal restructuring.


Now is the time for the United States to be more proactive in promoting its business interests on the continent and in safeguarding the trade relationships we already have in place. Delay in renewing AGOA will costs hundreds of thousands of jobs in both Africa and the United States.


We call on you to vote on reauthorizing AGOA. In doing so, you will support not only the economic and security interests of 40 African nations, but the short and long-term economic and security interests of the United States.


Thank you, in advance, for consideration of this request and for your support.




The AGOA Civil Society Network  


 To add your name/ organization  as  a signatory to the   "AGOA CSO NETWORK CAMPAIGN TO RE-AUTHORIZE AGOA"  


Email:agoacsonet@democracy-africa.org on or before COB on 3/24/15  


Please put
Add My Name/Organization in the subject line, and provide your
First and Last Name, Title, Organization, Telephone Number along with any comments to:




Download a copy of the draft AGOA Re-Authorization Letter    




AGOA CSO's Network Members and African Union Trade Ministerial Delegation Meet to Discuss

Advocacy Strategy for the Timely Re-Authorization of AGOA


Hon. Sekh'ulumi Ntsoaole, Minister of Trade & Industry, Cooperative and Marketing, Lesotho
On January 20, 2015, members of the AGOA Civil Society Network, and a high level delegation consisting of African Union Trade Ministers met at the African House, headquarters to the African Union Mission 
to the United States in Washington, DC. The delegation was led by the Honorable
Sekh'ulumi Ntsoaole, Minister of Trade and Industry, Cooperative and Marketing, Lesotho and the purpose of the meeting was to exchange ideas on how best to achieve a timely re-authorization of AGOA. Other members of the delegation included: the Honorable Gabriel Tchango, Minister of Trade, Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Handicrafts and the Development of Services, Gabon; and the Honorable Etienne Ghislan Simatambou, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mauritius. 


During the meeting members of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat reiterated the Secretariat's commitment to do everything it can to advocate for the re-authorization of AGOA, including, but not limited to reaching out to the Obama Administration and both Houses of Congress for a timely and long term re-authorization of AGOA and the third country fabric provision. The Secretariat also shared information gathered during frank discussions with the US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Froman and his staff during a recent closed door meeting regarding re-authorization of AGOA with CSOs with the delegation. In the course of the discussion, Ambassador Froman expressed President Obama's commitment to work with Congress for a timely re-authorization of AGOA, and the third country fabric provision for a longer term and, USTR's willingness to expand the product list and address issues raised by civil society regarding rules of origin to ensure a stronger AGOA.


 Additionally, the Secretariat apprised the delegation of the fact that Congress is expected to include the AGOA Re- authorization Bill as part of a comprehensive trade policy bill under the Trade Partnership Authority (TPA),   which is required by the Administration in order to finalize discussions on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in coming months. However, on the issue of the length of the extension of AGOA, the Secretariat informed the delegation that based on recent discussions with staff members from the Ways and Means, the House Foreign Relations, and Senate Finance Committees, the expected duration of the Bill is 10 years.


Furthermore members of the Secretariat conveyed concerns expressed by the US private sector, and members of Congress with the delegation re the issues of the Economic Partnership and the trade disagreement with South Africa, stating that these are issues the delegation needs to address during their meetings with the Obama Administration, on Capitol Hill and with members of the private sector to ensure a timely re- authorization of AGOA for a long term extension.


Moreover Fred Oladeinde, Chair of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat requested that the Ministerial delegation include the need for collective efforts by AGOA eligible countries to address supply side constrains, particularly, SPS, regional transportation linkages, limited direct flights; and logistic centers between markets in Africa and the U.S. in their next report to the African Union Ministers of Trade Conference. These constraints currently hinder the effective creation of regional and global supply chains necessary to increase the competitiveness of African products in U.S. market, given the preferential tariff treatment under AGOA. Mr. Oladeinde also called on AGOA eligible countries to incorporate the Diaspora in its effort to expand trade, economic and cultural ties with the United States.




   Upcoming Events




August 24 -27, 2015


  "AGOA at 15: Charting a Course for a Sustainable U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership"



March 26        WETATi 2015 Convention 

Entrepreneurship and Women in Leadership

College, Park Maryland    Visit event website!

 March 27       Direct Line Gabon & AGOA Webinar with 

U.S. Amb. to Gabon and Sao Tome & Principe, 

Cynthia Akuetteh & Gabon's Amb.to the U.S.

Michael Moussa-Adamo 

March 31       "Women Empowering the Future - Making the                            the Global Connection"   

                       Africa Trade Development Center, Miami Free Zone                         Doral, FL               Register here!

April 16-17       AGOA Civil Society Organization Advisory    

                        Board Meeting and Spring Luncheon

                        AGOA Re-Authorization: Perspectives from the                           US and Africa

                        Washington, DC      Click here for more info! 


August 25         CSO Session of the 14th AGOA Forum    

                        Gabon                  Save the Date info! 


August 26-27     AGOA Ministerial Forum


Harmful Shifts in the US Economy Without a New Beginning for AGOA?



Deanna Clark-Esposito - Partner, Fashion Compliance & International Trade Attorney
Still think the economy is sluggish? The gridlock in Congress isn't helping and with their delays in reauthorizing trade agreements like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), U.S. companies whose existence rely upon duty-free African imports - whether in fashion, retail, beauty, foodstuffs, or otherwise - are going to start laying off people as the uncertainty with respect to AGOA renewal mounts.


Here's a snapshot of reasons, recommendations, and how you can support  AGOA renewal in 2015.


AGOA renewal is important not only for keeping existing companies in business but also for the expansion of other US companies who find markets within African economies.


A rise in African exports equals increased spending power amongst African consumers, and with President Obama's export promotion initiative in place, this means that US exports have a greater chance for success when expanding into these foreign markets.  


A growing African labor force could also lead to more stable economies and increase good governance. With greater economic development and stability, there will be less of an incentive to join radical groups known to be destructive and that pose a threat to the world at large, as there will instead be viable alternatives to have a life with meaning and hence, a vested interest in creating a common good for society as a whole.


Now is the time to make your voice heard if you want Congress to vote for the reauthorization of the AGOA trade agreement. Send letters to all of the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, calling for:


1) The expeditious passage of AGOA

2) Renewal for a term of 15 years

3) Such passage to include all current member states


With this, provide a statement highlighting how economic development and stabilization function as a mechanism to combat terrorism.


The AGOA reauthorization is currently being drafted by Congress, so now is the time to get your letters in and make your voice heard if you want to keep US businesses in business and open up foreign markets to US exports.  



Find contact information for Your Elected Official 

Issue: 002
In This Issue
Network Working Group Meeting

The next AGOA Civil Society Network Working Group meeting is scheduled for  


 April 2, 2015 

              10:00 am 


Please plan to participate!!! 




The AGOA Civil Society Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations, (NGOs) and other groups in the United States and Africa working to facilitate the successful application of the AGOA trade bill for the benefit of small business in the US, and Africa. The Network was established by the 102 member organizations from the United States, Mauritius, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Mali, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo that were in attendance during the AGOA Civil Society Forum on January 17, 2003, in Phoenix,  Mauritius. The AGOA CSO Network's focus is on increasing the volume and quality of African exports under AGOA and educating stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on this trade policy and its advantages.



Become part of the solution by joining, today! click here!!!


 Members'  Corner 
Renew Your Membership, Today!

It is time to renew your membership for 2015, and encourage members of your network and friends to become members of the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network. Your membership and contributions drive the work of the Secretariat. We need and value support - join us, today!   


Join Our Mailing List

AGOA CSO Network Secretariat