Getting Serious about Underperformance of the African Growth and Opportunity Act: Policy Options for Supporting Trade Potential in Africa


With the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) scheduled to expire in September 2015, the US Congress and Obama Administration will need to consider its status this year. This presents an opportunity to examine broader US support for trade-based development in Africa. Drawing upon analysis of firm-level competitiveness constraints and US trade capacity building programs, we outline a number of policy recommendations, including: (1) revising the AGOA eligibility requirements to include business environment criteria; (2) establishing a centralized policy body, with appropriate budgetary authority, to focus US trade-related programs; (3) increasing USAID support for regional bodies that are supporting integration and harmonized policies; (4) protecting and expanding funding for the Millennium Challenge Corporation; and (5) increasing support, through multilateral and other bilateral vehicles, for electricity and transport infrastructure.

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