U.S. House of Representative Passes AGOA And Millennium Challenge Account Modernization Act

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Zambia’s Ambassador to the U.S. His Excellency Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula, S.C. has urged the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to expedite the finalization process of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) national strategy. Dr. Simbyakula says this will help Zambia maximize the preferential U.S. market access that the country has enjoyed under AGOA.

Dr. Simbyakula’s comment comes in the wake of the U.S. House of Representative’s unanimously passing of the AGOA, and Millennium Challenge Modernization Act on the floor of the House last week. Dr. Simbyakula says AGOA and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have proven track records of spurring economic development in Zambia.

“In this regard, it is recommended that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry expedite the finalization process of the national AGOA Strategy which Zambia has already developed. This will help Zambia take full advantage of preferential market access enjoyed under AGOA, and may be an opportunity for Zambia to be among the chosen countries that will be encouraged through embassies to promote export opportunities to the United States,” Dr. Simbyakula said.

The Bill will make AGOA more effective by directing U.S. President Donald Trump to establish a website with information regarding the AGOA and encourage Embassies in selected African countries to promote export opportunities to the United States. The Bill also include provisions which enables eligible countries with Millennium Challenge Corporation to simultaneously enter one additional compact for countries that are making considerable progress in implementing the terms of the existing compact.

And Member of Congress, Karen Bass, a ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, who alongside other officials introduced the Bill in the House, says the move signifies a positive move on U.S. policy with Africa. Ms. Bass further said modernization of the Act will also promote and develop a stronger economic relationship between the sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

“As you know, for well over a decade, AGOA has served as the key foundation to U.S.-Africa trade and investment. The AGOA and the Millennium Challenge Corporation Modernization Act hopes to build on and improve this successful law.

“Expanding these programs advances our position as international leaders, strengthens our domestic job market and economy, while protecting our national security interests. It’s in our economic and political interest to expand our relationships with the nations of Africa and this legislation strengthens key laws in that effort. It’s important to always remember the opportunity in the second largest Continent on earth and I look forward to continuing to highlight these opportunities for the growth and development of Africa,” she said.