US Trade secretary Ron Kirk addressing delegates at the AGOA Forum in Lusaka
US Trade secretary Ron Kirk addressing delegates at the AGOA Forum in Lusaka

The United States Government has announced that it would provide up to US$120 million over a period of four years
under a new trade capacity building initiative, The African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative (ACTE), to intensify and focus more sharply the work of US Aid for International Development (USAID)’s African Trade hubs.

US Trade Representative and Head of Delegation Ron Kirk said the resources would be provided to improve Africa’s capacity to produce and export competitive, value-added products and to address supply –side constraints that impede African Trade.

Addressing delegates during the official opening of the 10th AGOA Ministerial Forum at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka today, Mr. Kirk noted that even in a very difficult US budget environment, this imitative would put significant resources behind the commitment to expand both US –African and Intra- African Trade.

ZANIS reports that Ambassador Kirk who delivered his speech shortly after President Rupiah Banda officially opened the AGOA Forum noted that investments would help drive economic development in African countries, and enhance trade opportunities among Africans and Americans.

‘’That is why, today, I am pleased to announce that the United States will support a new trade capacity building initiative, The African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative, or ACTE.

‘’And the hubs produce positive results for African farmers, factory workers, and families. For example, in 2010 alone, the trade hubs facilitated over US$100 million in African goods expors to the world, including $56 million to the United States, and assisted nearly 1, 200 African firms interested in developing or expanding their capacity to export,’’ Ambassador Kirk added

Ambassador Kirk who is also Minister in President Barack Obama’s office stressed the need to recognise that the private sector leaders want to see a high degree of transparency accountability and predictability when making trade and investment decisions hence the move by the US Government to work with African Governments to improve the business
climate in their countries.

Mr Kirk further stated that the United States supports African regional Economic integration, adding that reducing barriers
to intra-Africa trade and investment would improve Africa’s competitiveness, and that it would benefit American exporters as it
will became easier to do business in Africa.

“Many AGOA partners have already enacted far reaching economic and political reforms that have enhanced the business and investment climate, improved governance and addressed barriers such as corruption, lack of capacity and limited infrastructure” he said.

The envoy noted that the US would continue to support countries that took such concrete steps saying when focused on ambitious goals, demand mutual accountability for measurable outcomes, marshal resources in the right ways, bigger things could be done.

He further underscored that the United States was committed to promoting Africa’s economic Growth through Trade, adding that AGOA was a critical pillar in growing the US economic relationship with sub-Saharan nations.

Ambassador Kirk further stressed the Obama administration was also committed to working with congress towards a seamless renewal of AGOA beyond 2015 to provide the predictability needed for US and African businesses, entrepreneurs, buyers and investors.

At the same gathering Ambassador Kirk reaffirmed the US government commitment to work through Public Private Partnerships to address HIV/AIDS crisis noting that millions have access to treatment, HIV incidence rates dropped and people living with the virus live healthier lives.

He reminded African nations that the policies made today would determine the scope of future opportunities. The US envoy noted that the challenges for both Americans and Africans was to work together to get it right so that all the peoples could
compete globally.

ZANIS

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14 COMMENTS

  1. These are Progressive developments and welcome ventures. I have also seen that Chance Kabayhe since leaving politics has been doing something useful. Why can’t charlants like Mulongoti, Mpombo, and Chitala learn something.

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  2. ” US to help Africa produce and export competitive, value-added products-Kirk ”

    Help ‘Africa’ or help themselves?

    I want to see the details of what they have planned.

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  3. US should deal with the problems at home before running to help others. high unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, uninsured(health)

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  4. Good evening

    This is a very welcome move by Uncle Sam. The time for the expansion of African trade has come. As I’m writing, millions of consumers in Europe are totally anxious about what to eat because of the EHEC epidemic. Everyone is now opting for organic food especially tropical fruits and vegetables. If enough African products were in supply on the European market, this would be a huge benefit for African farmers.

    I personally hope that this initiative is a serious one and not just an empty promise to comfort African traders. The problem is that the rich countries are good at instituting policies that aim to improve living standards in poor countries but then fail to honour their committments when the time comes.

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  5. Greeting Nine Chale please elaborate more on the food health issues affecting Europe today. The old school bloggers MrK, Nubian Princess and Nine Chale you have it correct. It’s for the US’s own benefit, because China has enveloped there monies here and are making the west feel the heat. That’s the answer to this sudden let’s trade with Africa mellurky.

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    • Greetings bro. I can only confirm that there are serious problems on the consumers side due to the virus in fruits & veggies, who’s origin has not yet been traced. The whole truth is yet to come out.

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  6. In as much as we appreciate such developments, we still have our own problems to solve as a country. The priority should be to get rid of police officers out of our roads as quickly as possible. They are very corrupt and deliberately targets business vehicles such as small trucks carrying farmers and their produce from the villages. I am talking about Kalomo and Choma districts, the behaviour of police officers is sickening. They were told by the Inspector General of police to stop standing on our roads, scrounging and stealing money from business vehicles but they can not listen. Policing is not about standing on the roads targeting Mitsubishi canters. The AGOA initiative will not yield anything if we continue having corrupt police officers.

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  7. It just goes to explain that we need to get our house in order for us to enhance competitiveness and maximize the benefit from this initiative. Our manufacturing sector: product development, processing and packaging standards improved we get it. Let’s get moving Zed.

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  8. Otherwise Zambia has what is required to compete except she is not utilizing her potential in terms of resource endowments.

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  9. It is very difficult for most Africa companies to penetrate highly competitive markets like the USA becoz most comapnies in Africa have very weak innovation capabilities. Being granted an openning is nothing, the issue is whether the products are able to attract customers on the streets of L.A, San Francisco, New York etc. Africa governments should invest in building innovation capabilies in schools, colleges, universities and encourage innovation companies, otherwise without innovation no African country will ever attain meaninful development. Look at where Singapore, South Korea and other East Asian countries are today, its because they institutionalized innovation in key sectors and organizations.

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  10. BEFORE YOU START ANY HELP MR KIRK, GIVE US A DUAL RAIL (LINK) LINE TO THE MOZAMBIQUE SEA PORT AND THAT WILL BE THE STARTING POINT FOR ALL INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING REVOLUTION IN ZAMBIA. WITHOUT SUCH COMMUNICATION INFRASTRUCTURE WE ARE JUST A BUNCH OF JOKERS. SATA’S EMPHASIS ON THE INFRASTRUCTURE WHEN HE MET ZAMBIANS IN LONDON AND WHEN HE VISITED OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ITSELF CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZED.

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  11. #2 THANKS. UNLIKE #1, YOU THINK BEFORE SAYING SOMETHING. ANYTHING CONVINCES #1. US OF A IS JUST SCARED OF CHINA WHO’S TAKING OUT OF ZAMBIA FREE COPPER TO GO AND OIL THEIR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES WHICH MAINLY USE COPPER. THE US WANTS TO CURTAIL CHINA’S SKY-ROCKETING RATE OF DEVELOPMENT BY CUTTING CHINA’S FREE MINERAL SOURCES. AMERICA IS LATE HOWEVER. THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS A LONG TIME. REMEMBER THEY REFUSED TO GIVE US A RAIL LINE WHEN SOUTH AFRICA SLAPPED AN EMBARGO ON ZAMBIA…

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  12. …BECAUSE OF ZAMBIA’S SUPPORT FOR ANC’S LIBERATION STRUGGLE. NOW DON’T JUST SAY YES TO ANYTHING. SOMETIMES THOSE WHO “DON’T HAVE” ARE THE MOST POWERFUL. ZAMBIA HASN’T GOT THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUT WE CAN DEMAND THE FROM THEM (US) SUITABLE INVESTMENT THAT HAS A FAR REACHING TRIGGER OF OTHER MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENTS.

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