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