Summer/2015                     NEWSLETTER
White House Reception Celebrating the Signing into Law of AGOA             



On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, members of Congress; the African Diplomatic Corps; the faith based community; and private sector and civil society leaders, including, Fred Oladeinde, President, The Foundation for Democracy in Africa, and Chair, the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat joined President Barack Obama at a reception celebrating the signing into law of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This historic gathering took place in the East Room of The White House on the evening of the President's official visit to Africa.


Remarks made by President Obama at the reception, and a photo of the President taken by Fred Oladeinde during the event follow:



U.S. President Barack Obama -  Photo: courtesy of Fred Oladeinde

THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House, everybody.


AUDIENCE: Thank you!


THE PRESIDENT: You all look good.

We have some of America's biggest champions for a strong partnership with Africa here today -- members of the diplomatic corps from our African partners; we've got some outstanding members of Congress, leaders of business, NGOs, members of the faith community.


Ambassador Olhaye -- I want to start by saying that tonight our thoughts are with our friends from Djibouti as we mourn the passing of Ambassador Olhaye. He served here since 1988, the longest-serving foreign ambassador in the United States. He was the dean of the diplomatic corps here and at the United Nations. Michelle and I welcomed him to the White House numerous times. He represented his nation and all of Africa with pride. And the legacy of his service -- particularly his personal role in helping pass AGOA -- is going to endure in the strong partnership between our peoples.


I want to thank everybody who's here for everything that you do to strengthen ties between Africa and the United States. Tonight, I especially want to thank you because, with your help, we succeeded in achieving the long-term renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. That's worth applauding. (Applause.) (Read more)  



 President Obama Signs the AGOA Reauthorization Bill 

At a ceremony at the White House on Monday, June 29, 2015, President Barack Obama signed Preferences Bill, HR 1295 (AGOA Reauthorization Bill) into law. HR 1295 was approved by Congress on Thursday, June 25, 2015.   


Remarks by President Obama at the Signing of the Defending Public Safety Employees' Retirement Act and the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 can be found below and attached:

   President Obama   

East Room    2:10 P.M. EDT  


THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, welcome to the White House.  I thought we'd start off the week with something we should do more often -- a truly bipartisan bill signing.  (Applause.)  


For six and a half years, we've worked to rescue the economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, to get it growing again and to rebuild it on a new foundation for prosperity.  Today, our businesses have created more than 12 million new jobs in the past five years -- that's the longest streak of job growth on record; 401(k)s have been replenished; the housing market is stronger; and more than 16 million Americans have gained the financial security of health insurance. (Applause.)    


But a constantly changing economy demands our constant effort to protect hardworking Americans and protect their success.  And one of the things we ought to be doing is rewriting the rules of global trade to make sure that they benefit American workers and American businesses, and that they reflect American values -- especially now, while our economy is in a position of global strength.  The two bills that I'll sign today will help America do just that.  


The first will help us pass new, 21st century trade agreements with higher standards and tougher protections than those that we've signed before.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, includes strong protections for workers and the environment.  Unlike previous agreements, those provisions will actually be enforceable.  And that's good for American businesses and America workers because we already meet high standards than -- higher standards than most of the rest of the world.  So we want to make sure that everybody else catches up. This agreement will help us level the playing field.


The second bill offers even more support for American workers.  It renews and expands the trade adjustment assistance program, which provides job training and other assistance to tens of thousands of American workers every year.  It gives us new tools to help American steelworkers and folks in other critical industries fight against unfair practices by other countries.  It also reauthorizes AGOA, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has had strong bipartisan support for many years now, and which helps open up markets in Africa to American businesses while making it easier for African businesses to sell their products in America.  And we're extending a similar program to Haiti, and renewing support for other development -- developing economies through what's known as the Generalized System of Preferences. (Read more!) 



Trade Expansion with Western Cape  

under AGOA


Deborah Kennedy-Iraheta; Beverly Schafer, Joy Holland, and Fred Oladeinde

On July 13, 2015 The AGOA CSO Network Secretariat hosted a breakfast meeting with the Honorable Beverly Schafer, Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament of South Africa to discuss expanding trade opportunities with the Western Cape under AGOA. Ms. Schafer is the Whip/Standing Committee Chair, Economic Opportunities, Tourism,  and Agriculture.


The meeting took place at FDA's Washington, DC office, and included: Joy Holland, Deputy Secretary of the District of Columbia, Executive Office of the Mayor; Deborah Kennedy-Iraheta, Chief Operating Officer, FHI 360 and AGOA CSO Network Advisory Board Member, and Fred Oladeinde, Chair, AGOA CSO Network Secretariat.   



Roundtable Discussion on Trade Facilitation under AGOA  


Congress' reauthorization of AGOA and the third country fabric provision for ten years is the longest extension since the law was first passed in 2000.  Ten years provides the predictability and sustainability required to address the supply side gaps, especially in areas of trade facilitation which hinders the competitiveness of African products and services, globally, and particularly in US markets under AGOA. Additionally, Africa's economic development
partly depends on the reduction of trade transaction costs, which are currently unacceptably high.


On July 17, 2015 the AGOA Civil Society Organization Network Secretariat participated in an off the record private breakfast to discuss the opportunity of customs facilitation in Africa in the context of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) renewal and the 2013 Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement. The purpose of the session was to identify some of the key opportunities in advance of the AGOA Forum in Gabon from August 24-27, 2015. The event was held at CSIS on Friday, July 17th, 2015, and the Speakers included:
  • Mr. Fred Oladeinde, Chair of the AGOA CSO Network Secretariat, and President, The Foundation for Democracy in Africa and Africa Trade Development Center
  • H.E. Professor Eliachim Molapi Sebatane, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United States of America 
  • H.E. Necton Mhura, Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to the United States of America
  • Mr. Sandile Tyini, Minister (Economic), Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, United States of America


August 24 -27, 2015

Libreville, Gabon


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


On August 24-27, 2015, the government of Gabon will host the 2015 AGOA Forum in Libreville. The theme of this year's Forum is "AGOA at 15: Charting a Course for a Sustainable U.S.-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership." Interested stakeholders can find more information or Register to participate in the Forum:Click here!  




CSO Session: 2015 Forum Agenda (English) 


CSO Session: 2015 Forum Agenda (French)


 CSOSession: 2015 Forum Schedule  




   Upcoming Events


Oct. 24 - 28    17th Annual AfrICANDO 2015 - US - Africa Trade                       and Investment Conference & Food & Beverage

AGOA Extension and Enhancement (AEE)                                        Act of 2015: Strengthening the Supply Chain for                                African Ethnic Foods, Spices and Beverages in                           the Americas."Show -      


AfrICANDO 2015 will bring together producers, exporters and buyers of food and beverages from across Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Canada and the United States of America to benefit from a one stop opportunity for ideas, products and business.   Africa Trade Development Center  

Miami Free Zone, 2315 NW  107 Avenue

Miami, Fl 33172    Click here to Register, today! 


Sir Mancham Addresses Chinese Entrepreneurs in Shanghai on Potential of Business in Africa


Sir James Mancham Founding President,Seychelles

"Chinese entrepreneurs must adopt an enlightened approach to business in Africa and aim for a win-win situation," Seychelles' founding President, James R. Mancham declared in an address to the Tong He Hui Entrepreneurs Forum ( which took place in Shanghai on Monday May 25, 2015.

Sir James shared the VIP guest speakers' rostrum with the Honorable John Howard, four times elected former Prime Minister of Australia.

While Mr. Howard focused his address on China's business with Australia, former President Mancham was invited to speak about China's business with Africa.

Prime Minister Howard said that China has become Australia's most important trading partner importing most of its iron ore, coal and other minerals which have kept the Australian economy on a positive growth path. It is also important to note that over recent years Chinese companies have invested heavily in Australia buying businesses, hotel resorts and prized real estates. Australia has also become the favorite destination for Chinese students seeking to be educated overseas.

"Initially we were only seeing students seeking university and post graduate education, now we are also receiving students interested in primary and secondary education," Mr. Howard stated, adding "this is not surprising because Australia's education standard is high."  

According to Mr. Howard, Chinese are attracted to invest and do business in Australia because they are impressed with the transparency and business ethics prevailing in the country where the law is the law for all and an independent judiciary makes sure that the rule of law is upheld and that justice is respected.

Speaking about China's trade with Africa, Sir James echoed the sentiment of the Secretary General of the African Union, N. Zuma, that she saw China as becoming "the most important player on the African continent particularly with
respect to infrastructural development."

The decision of the Chinese government to seriously invest in Africa has pulled the door wide open for Chinese entrepreneurs to get into Africa. But arriving there is one thing and staying there amicably on a long-term basis would require the progress and consolidation of a win-win situation from the standpoint of both parties," Sir James elaborated.
China with its great history and civilization must of course be aware that no one is happy with becoming second class citizen in their own country. (Read more) 
Issue: 003
In This Issue
Network Working Group Meeting

The next AGOA Civil Society Network Working Group meeting schedule is as follows:    


Every Tuesday from  

  10:30  - 11:45 am EDT


July 28,  2015

August 4, 2015

August 11, 2015 


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.



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