For a decade now, the United States has encouraged the nations of sub-Saharan Africa to increase their engagement in the world economy by helping them enter new markets in the U.S. Since 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, has eliminated tariffs on almost all products that come from 37 African nations that support market-based economies, the rule of law and protection of human rights. On June 9 and 10, top U.S. officials will meet with their African counterparts in Lusaka, Zambia, to discuss possible new trade opportunities for AGOA nations and to discuss increased competitiveness, greater value-added production and deeper regional integration.
Increased trade is one of the fastest ways to promote economic growth, spur development and reduce poverty. Building effective regional trade relationships is crucial for accomplishing this. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, a U.S. research group, Africa's economy is expected to increase by more than 50 perrcent by the year 2020, fueled by growth in mining and agriculture and the development of ports, roads and other infrastructure. The AGOA program has helped promote new, non-traditional value-added exports from Africa too, such as apparel, footwear and other manufactured goods.
Just as Africa has profited from taking advantage of the opportunities offered by AGOA, there are opportunities for American companies and workers from stronger economies and markets in Africa. In 2010, AGOA eligible countries including Angola, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal and South Africa exported $44 billion in products to the U.S.
AGOA plays an important role in our country's relationship with Africa and we are committed to working with our partner nations to make that relationship stronger.