U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Congo Todd Haskell kicked off Embassy Brazzaville’s “GoAGOA Week” on March 19.
The inauguration event was the first in a week full of activities to educate Congolese entrepreneurs and government workers on the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA.
Signed into law in 2000, now extended through 2025, AGOA provides 40 eligible Sub-Saharan Africa countries in 2018 the ability to export more than 6,500 different types of products into the United States duty-free. Through its eligibility criteria, AGOA encourages countries to make progress in establishing policies that support a market-based economy, a strong rule of law, poverty reduction, and systems to combat corruption and bribery, while not erecting barriers to U.S. trade and investment.
Embassy Brazzaville brought AGOA expert, Kara Diallo, from the USAID West African Trade Hub to present to packed auditoriums of business owners, public officials, and members of the media to help all Congolese understand the law, the steps necessary to export to the United States, and available resources for business owners to find more information at www.agoa.info.
Currently, more than 80 percent of exports to the United States from the Republic of Congo are from petroleum-based products. However, the future health and expansion of the Congo economy will rely on export diversification.
Through the multitude of media interviews, articles, meetings with ministry officials, business owners, and entrepreneurs throughout the GoAGOA week, Embassy Brazzaville hopes to see an increase in both the amount and diversity of Congolese products entering the United States marketplace in the coming years, while strengthening the Congolese market for increased U.S. exports to the country.
“Congo has tremendous potential for economic diversification in the areas of agriculture, eco-tourism, and transportation,” said Ambassador Haskell in his remarks. “This potential cannot be realized by one ministry or one business.” Developing the Republic of Congo’s economy he said, “is a team project.”