Courtesy: USAID East Africa Trade Hub
Exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to the US from eight East African countries amounted to nearly $1 billion in the year from October 2017 to September 2018, according to the East Africa Hub of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Kenya was the largest exporter accounting for $454 million of total exports.
The exports from the eight countries—Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius and Burundi—under AGOA during the period was an increase of 17 per cent over figures from the previous year, the USAID Hub said in a blog on its website.
To date, USAID Hub trade and investment support has contributed to $4.07 billion in AGOA exports from the region, with $491.5 million from USAID Hub-supported firms.
While Kenya remained the largest exporter in eastern Africa, Ethiopia experienced the largest increase in AGOA exports with a sharp 62 per cent year-on-year. Ethiopia may quickly become the second or third largest exporter under AGOA in East Africa, if the growth momentum is sustained.
Except for Mauritius and Burundi, all countries saw their exports to the US grow under AGOA during the period under review. Exports from Mauritius declined following increased competition from Madagascar which regained its AGOA eligibility. Burundi, while not AGOA-eligible, saw its exports under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) drop.
Apparel constituted 84.4 per cent of all AGOA exports from the East African countries during the period from October 2017 to September 2018.
In recent years, East African countries—particularly Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya—have made sustained efforts to take advantage of their AGOA eligibility. These nations have farmed their national AGOA strategies that outline targeted support for critical sectors and product categories to maximise the utilisation of duty-free benefits. Ethiopia is also in the process of updating its national strategy. (RKS)