Archive for August 4th, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Clinton attends AGOA Forum: Energy and Textiles

U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton arrives in Kenya today to attend the AGOA Forum (African Growth and Opportunity Act, signed into law by president Bill Clinton in May 2000 and renewed by Congress in 2004. Nigeria, South Africa,  Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Cape Verde are also on her 11-day schedule. In Kenya, Clinton will address a forum of about 40 nations covered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a US law giving market access to sub-Saharan nations committed to democracy and free markets. One of the leading African products making it into the U.S. markets duty-free are textiles and apparel. But as is the case in African-Chinese trade as well, energy-related products account for the lion’s share of African exports with nearly 96 per cent of the 56.3 billion US dollars. Other goods are taking some 1.3 per cent of the export, notes the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. During French president Nicolas Sarkozy‘s visits to the DR Congo and Niger in March, uranium mining was at the very fore.

Xinhua published a rather neutral report on the AGOA Forum yesterday, but the act clearly differs from China’s approach of a strict policy of non-interference in other nations’ affairs in that AGOA spells out criteria for African countries’ eligibility for access to the American market, such as

“… market-based economies; the rule of law and political pluralism; elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment; protection of intellectual property; efforts to combat corruption; policies to reduce poverty, increasing availability of health care and educational opportunities; protection of human rights and worker rights; and elimination of certain child labor practices.”

That said, China’s development support doesn’t come unconditionally either. China’s EXIM Bank‘s terms in trade with Angola state that the Angolan government would get Chinese loans on condition that 70 per cent of public tenders for the construction and civil engineering contracts be awarded to Chinese companies., writes Asia News.

The Namibian government is apparently in the process of reviewing similar provisions in its business relations with China.


G20 London Summit – A Difference for Africa?, April 4, 2009
China in Africa, Hearts and Minds, Febr 13, 2009

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