Sub-Saharan Africa's total trade with the United States has grown by more than 250 percent from 28.2 billion U. S. dollars recorded in 2001, according to statistics released by the South African government on Monday.
Meanwhile, sub-Saharan Africa's exports to the U. S. as a result of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) increased from 8. 15 billion dollars in 2001 to 34.9 billion dollars in 2012, representing an increase of 328 percent, the South African government said on its website.
This sharp rise could be attributed to the trade partnership between the two sides, the government said. AGOA was signed into law by then U. S. president Bill Clinton on May 18, 2000, for a period of eight years and President George Bush later extended the program to September 2015.
"AGOA is the only legal framework between sub-Saharan Africa and the Unites States, and it has generated enormous goodwill between African countries and the Unites States of America," South Africa Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said.
"For South Africa, it has underpinned exports of diversified and value added products to the U. S. markets. Further, the U. S. investment through Power Africa could help to support infrastructure development in Africa," he said.
Davies has just returned from a visit to the United States to exchange views on the future of AGOA beyond 2015.
AGOA is a unilateral trade preference program to provide African countries with trade preferences, which in turn makes it easier for African countries to export their products to the United States.
Also on Monday, the African Union Commission chair, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, called on the U. S. to extend the AGOA.
A spokesperson for the Africa Union Commission said Dlamini- Zuma' s call was already receiving support, with Democratic Senator Christopher Coons, who is also the chairperson of the Senate Sub-Committee on African Affairs, saying, "Support for Africa is one of few areas of consensus between Democrats and Republicans." Enditem