Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lake Victoria Kenya/Uganda/Tanzania

Lake Victoria -- also known as Victoria Nyanza, Ukerewe, and Nalubaale -- rakes in the superlatives: it is the largest lake on the African continent, the largest tropical lake in the world, and the second largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Joined by five others, Lake Victoria is one of the Great Lakes of Africa, extending into three countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania (6, 45, and 49 percent, respectively).

Lake Victoria provides drinking water, hydroelectric power, water transportation, and economic development to the area. The lake supports industries such as commercial fishing, agriculture, trade, tourism, and wildlife preservation.

Though Lake Victoria has been around for more than 400,000 years, the first accounts of human arrival come from Arab traders in the 1100's, who arrived in search of gold, ivory, and slaves. Europeans later arrived in 1858, when British explorers John Hanning Speke and Richard Francis Burton arrived on a central Africa exploration expedition. Believing the lake to be the mouth of the Nile, Speke named it after Queen Victoria of England. Debate ensued on whether the lake actually held title as Mouth of the Nile, and many explorers arrived to either prove or refute Speke's claim. Eventually, the American Explorer Henry Morton Stanley discovered the lake's outflow at Ripon Falls, thus validating Speke's original statement: Lake Victoria forms the headwaters of the great Nile River.

Ripon Falls in Uganda was the only natural outlet for Lake Victoria. With construction of the Owen Falls Dam and Nalubaale Power Station in 1954, the original Falls were submerged. An agreement between Uganda and Egypt dictated that water releases through the dam would correspond with the natural outflow before damming. The Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) operates the power station, which supplies electricity to Uganda and neighboring Kenya. Uganda completed a second hydroelectric powerhouse, the Kiira station, in 2003, and a third power station at the Bujugali Falls has been planned. However, due to prolonged drought and hydropower generation, Lake Victoria water levels have fallen to their lowest levels since 1951, with serious negative impact on fishing, transportation, electricity, and tourism. The three countries bordering Lake Victoria have prepared National Environmental Action Plans, acknowledging that cooperation is necessary to address the challenges of water pollution, biodiversity loss, land and wetlands degradation, and deforestation.

Though Lake Victoria extends into Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, international water travel is not possible. Visitors to the area must choose their country, and the offerings are many. One of the most common ways to reach Lake Victoria is by safari, allowing you to visit the lake, its islands, and several neighboring national parks.

Kenya offers rich natural and cultural offerings, and a visit to the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria will give you insight into the people and animals that make their home here. Western Kenya is largely unexplored, and absent are the mass of safari vans that so often dot the African landscape. Instead of mass tourism, here you'll participate in cultural immersion and get even deeper insight to African life by overnighting in a home stay. You'll soon find that community-based tourism is a central part of life here, educating visitors and helping local communities sustain themselves.

A Kenya-based Lake Victoria safari usually starts in Nairobi to Ndere Island National Park. Located in the Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria, the island has been uninhabited since 1986. Ndere means "meeting place" in Dholou, and here you will first meet the lake's waters, flora, and fauna. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of African fish eagles, hippopotamuses, swifts, and Nile crocodiles that are known to make their home here. Later, travel to Homa Bay, a town and bay on the southern shore of Winam Gulf. Gaze at the vast Mount Homa, investigate Ruma National Park, and keep your eyes peeled for giraffes, roan antelope, and hartebeestes. Next stop is usually Rusinga Island, which includes a history museum, native Luo people, and growing sustainable tourism options. Several safaris will also take you to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, where you will meet the native Maasai and explore the landscape before heading back to your home base. Terms of Use

A visit to Lake Victoria's Tanzania coast will likely bring you to one spot: Rubondo Island National Park. The only national park in the country, the 93 square mile island is a mass of green trees, sparkling blue waters, and varied wildlife. Nature lovers will enjoy seeing giraffe, elephants, crocodiles, hippos, monkeys, otters, suni antelope, and marsh mongoose, though bird watchers will be those most satisfied by a visit to Rubondo Island National Park. Home to almost 400 bird species, the island is a avian paradise of cormorants, kingfishers, hornbills, ibises, storks, flycatchers, herons, and many birds of pray, including the world's highest density of fish eagles. There are several tours available on-island, and lodging options are also available, allowing visitors to make the most of their time on Tanzania's Lake Victoria coast.
Uganda, which Winston Churchill called the "pearl of Africa," offers Lake Victoria visitors incredible scenery, vast wildlife populations, and volcanic ranges, all with a background of beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks. Rare mountain gorillas live in the mountains, and among Uganda's tourist offerings are a Gorilla Safari and Chimpanzee treks, offering you scenic vistas and shoreline explorations.

Your days visiting Lake Victoria will be filled with wildlife watching, birdwatching, and appreciation of the varied African landscape around you. Depending on your time constraints and trip goals, choose your country wisely, and you will glimpse the Lake Victoria that Arab traders and European explorers first discovered.

Natural Resources of Africa

Natural resources of Africa

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Africa has a large quantity of natural resources including oil, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, but also woods and tropical fruits. It has lots of its natural resources undiscovered or barely tapped. Having a low human density, for a long period of time Africa has been colonized by more dynamic groups, exploiting African resources. Some economists have talked about the 'scurge of raw materials', large quantities of rare raw materials putting Africa under heavy pressures and tensions, leading to wars and slow development.

1 African agriculture
2 African Woods
3 African Animals
4 African Minerals
5 African Oil
6 Fresh Water
7 Ocean
8 See also
9 References
10 Sources

[edit] African agriculture
African agricultures have for long been western-oriented. Thus, focusing on cocoa, coffee, banana, orange, yams, pineapples, and many non-native fruits (non native as in Asia,Europe,America, Australia) etc.

[edit] African Woods
Exotic woods in Africa have been exploited for centuries, especially Ebene and many hardwoods. Both Congos are currently large wood exporters.

[edit] African Animals
Africa is made up of many different types of land, providing it access to many different types of animals. Some of these animals are the African elephant, the zebra, and the giraffe.also they have thirty-eight species of wild animals

[edit] African Minerals
Main article: Mineral industry of Africa
Africa, the 2nd largest continent, has large reserves of minerals, being the leading area for diamonds, cobalt, uranium, and many other rare minerals.

[edit] African Oil
African oil takes growing importance, mainly after the 2003 oil crisis and recent oil reserves discoveries. Sudan and Nigeria are two of the main oil producers. China owns 40% of Sudanese ones. Oil is both provided by continental and offshore productions.
Five countries dominate Africa's upstream oil production. Together they account for 85% of the continent's oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. Other oil producing countries are Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire. Exploration is taking place in a number of other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in this list are Chad, Sudan, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while Mozambique and Tanzania are potential gas producers.[1]

[edit] Fresh Water
Africa contains many of lakes and rivers, allowing in some small fishing industry. The deep rivers of Africa have significant hydroelectric value. Lake Victoria is Africa's biggest lake. Lake Volta in Ghana is the world's largest artificial lake.

[edit] Ocean
Atlantic and Indian allow some further production, from fishing, to mining and offshore oil productions. Its coastlines are teeming with fish and other seafood.

[edit] See also
Economy of Africa
Mineral industry of Africa
[edit] References
[edit] Sources
Google scholar: African natural resources
Google scholar: African oil
Google scholar: African wood

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International Year of Thanksgiving

International year of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a communal gesture celebrated all over the world.

The significance of thanksgiving day stems from the need to display gratitude through prayer, hymns and gift giving.

UN DeclarationThough thanksgiving originated in America, but it has spread its wings to other continents of the world as well. In November 1997, as a communal effort to reunite people all over the world, the millennium year 2000 was proclaimed as the 'International year of Thanksgiving' by the United Nations. This was first time ever that the general assembly voted unanimously in favour of a spiritual idea. The responsibility to take lead was given to Center for world Thanksgiving situated at Thanks-Giving Square. The idea behind the declaration was to spread peace, harmony and brotherhood.

United Nations decided the year 2000 as the 'International thanksgiving year' in order to celebrate the gift of life as the noblest expression of the human spirit.The activities undertaken by Center of World Thanksgiving included surveying the members countries of United nations and study their harvest related festivals. The survey laid emphasis on the importance of thanksgiving as an expression of gratitude in history, in arts, in philosophy and in religion. The declaration also served the purpose of fostering cultural relations among different countries.Lastly, the declaration intended to promote friendly relations among nations.

When is Thanksgiving Day?

Date of Thanksgiving Day varies every year and several countries celebrate it in different time of the year. Given here is information on Thanksgiving Day date in US and Canada for the past, present and coming years.

When is Thanksgiving Day in US?

Thanksgiving Day finds its roots in America. It is celebrated with lot of fervor and euphoria on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. For the people in US Thanksgiving is a time for merrymaking, shopping, family reunion, feasts and family dinners. People also take time to thank God for his constant grace and for all the material possessions man enjoys. For many Thanksgiving is also the time to thank near and dear ones and being grateful for their kindness.

Thanksgiving Day in 2010 - November 25

Thanksgiving Day in 2009 - November 26

Thanksgiving Day in 2008 - November 27

Thanksgiving Day in 2007 - November 22

Thanksgiving Day in 2006 - November 23

When is Thanksgiving Day in Canada?

Thanksgiving Day in Canada is, however, celebrated on the second Monday in the month of October every year. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day a month earlier because autumn season starts early in Canada than in America.

Thanksgiving Day in 2010- October 11

Thanksgiving Day in 2009 - October 12

Thanksgiving Day in 2008 - October 13

Thanksgiving Day in 2007 - October 8

Thanksgiving Day in 2006 - October 9

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A New Paradigm for African Leadership

U.S.-Africa Policy Under the Obama Administration
Johnnie CarsonAssistant Secretary,

Bureau of African Affairs Reimagine, Redefine, Reinvent: A New Paradigm for African Leadership

Harvard University Africa Focus Program

Washington, DC

April 5, 2010

[As Prepared]

It is a real pleasure for me to join you today to launch the second annual Africa Focus at Harvard University. Thank you Dr. Elkins for that kind introduction, and thank you to the organizers of this year’s Africa Focus for inviting me to speak about a topic that I have devoted much of my professional life to – strengthening the United States relationship with Africa.
As many of you know, I have spent much of my career working in and on Africa. I started my career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania and joined the Foreign Service right after that. I have had the privilege of serving as U.S. Ambassador in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Uganda and I am honored to be serving as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in this administration.

President Obama has a strong interest in Africa and has prioritized Africa among our top foreign policy concerns. This has been evident throughout his first year in office.
The President’s visit to Ghana last July, the earliest visit made by a U.S. president to the continent, underscores Africa’s importance to the U.S. Last September, at the UN General Assembly, the President hosted a lunch with 26 African heads of state. He has also met in the oval office with President Kikwete of Tanzania, President Khama of Botswana, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai. And the President invited dozens of people to the White House to see him give a Zimbabwean women’s group the Robert H. Kennedy Prize for Political Courage.
All of the President’s senior foreign policy advisors have followed his lead—many of them traveling to Africa as well.

The U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations -- my former boss and close colleague Ambassador Susan Rice -- visited five African countries last June, including Liberia and Rwanda. Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew traveled to Ethiopia and Tanzania in June 2009.

Last August, Secretary Clinton and I embarked on an 11-day, seven-country trip across the continent. And in January Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero headed the U.S. delegation to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, where she met with dozens of leaders and discussed a range of issues including democracy and governance, climate change, and food security.

President Obama has said that the United States views Africa as our partner and as a partner of the international community. While Africa has very serious and well-known challenges to confront, the President and Secretary Clinton are confident that Africa and Africans will rise to meet and overcome these challenges.

Last June when the President was in Ghana, he said, “We believe in Africa's potential and promise. We remain committed to Africa's future. We will be strong partners with the African people.” Africa is essential to our interconnected world, and our alliance with one another must be rooted in mutual respect and accountability.
I echo the President’s sentiment that U.S. policy must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans.

The Obama Administration is committed to a positive and forward looking policy in Africa.
It is committed to substantial increases in foreign assistance for Africa, but we know that additional assistance will not automatically produce success across the continent. Instead, success will be defined by how well we work together as partners to build Africa’s capacity for long-term change and ultimately the elimination of the continued need for such assistance. As Africa’s partner, the United States is ready to contribute to Africa’s growth and stabilization, but ultimately, African leaders and countries must take control of their futures.
Just like the United States is important to Africa, Africa is important to the United States. The history and heritage of this country is directly linked to Africa; President Obama’s direct family ties to the continent are a testimony to this.

But the significance and relevance of Africa reaches far beyond ethnicity and national origin. It is based on our fundamental interests in promoting democratic institutions and good governance, peace and stability, and sustained economic growth across Sub Saharan Africa. We think these issues are also fundamental to Africa’s future progress and success. Therefore, as we advance our interests, our policy will be based on five overarching principles.

FIRST: Strengthening African Governments

We will work with African governments, the international community, and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions and protect the democratic gains made in recent years in many African countries.

A key element in Africa’s transformation is sustained commitment to democracy, rule of law, and constitutional norms. Africa has made significant progress in this area. Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, and South Africa are a few examples of countries showing that commitment. But progress in this area must be more widespread across Africa.
Some scholars and political analysts are saying that democracy in Africa has reached a plateau, and that we may be witnessing the beginning of a democratic recession. They point to flawed presidential elections in places like Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe; the attempts by leaders in Niger, Uganda, and Cameroon to extend their terms of office; and the re-emergence of military interventionism in Guinea-Conakry, Madagascar, and just last week in Niger.
Moreover, democracy remains fragile or tenuous in large states like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and arguably Africa’s most important country, Nigeria.

Nigeria continues to experience political tensions caused by the prolonged illness of President Yar’Adua. The United States welcomes President Yar’Adua’s recent return to Nigeria. However, we remain concerned that there may be some in Nigeria who are putting their personal ambitions above the health of the President and more importantly ahead of the political stability and political health of the country.

Nigeria is simply too important to Africa and too important to the U.S. and the international community for us not to be concerned and engaged. Widespread instability in Nigeria could have a tsunami-like ripple effect across West Africa and the global community.
During my recent visit to Nigeria, I was encouraged by the steps Nigeria’s elected officials at the national and state level to elevate Goodluck Jonathan to Acting President. Although political progress has been made, Nigeria still faces significant political challenges and uncertainty in the run-up to the next presidential and national assembly elections in 2011.

It is important that Nigeria improve its electoral system, reinvigorate its economy resolve the conflicts in the Niger Delta and end communal violence and impunity in Plateau State. It is also critically important that all of Nigeria’s leaders act responsibly and reaffirm their commitment to good governance, stability and democracy by choosing constitutional rule.

Nigeria and other African countries need civilian governments that deliver services to their people, independent judiciaries that respect and enforce the rule of law, professional security forces that respect human rights, strong and effective legislative institutions, a free and responsible press, and a dynamic civil society. All of these things are needed for a stable and prosperous Africa. All of these things are needed to secure Africa’s future.
The U.S. will continue to work with Africans, as partners, to build stronger democratic institutions and to advance democracy in Africa. It is a major priority.

SECOND: Economic Progress

Africa’s future success and global importance are dependent on its continued economic progress. Working alongside African countries to promote and advance sustained economic development and growth is another Obama administration priority. Africa has made measurable inroads to increase prosperity. Countries like Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, and Cape Verde have made significant economic strides. Yet Africa remains the poorest and most vulnerable continent on the globe.

To help turn this situation around, we must work to revitalize Africa’s agricultural sector, which employs more than 70 percent of Africans directly or indirectly.
The U.S. is committed to supporting a new Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, focusing predominantly on reducing hunger, poverty and under-nutrition.

This $3.5 billion Food Security Initiative will also supply new methods and technologies to African farmers. The initiative was developed to help enhance Africa’s ability to meet its food needs and reduce its reliance on imported food commodities. It will also enable African states to further develop their agricultural industries, and by doing so it can spur economic growth across the continent.

Now is the time for a Green Revolution in African agriculture.
Through innovative approaches and nontraditional technology, we can improve the lives of millions of people across the continent.

Malawi was elected to the African Union chairmanship in January. It has made great progress in the field of agriculture and has indicated that it plans to use its chairmanship of the AU to advance agriculture in Africa. Countries that can feed themselves are stronger, more stable, and better able to weather economic downturns.

The U.S. also wants to strengthen its trading relationship with Africa. We already have strong ties in energy, textiles, and transportation equipment. But we can and should do more. The Obama Administration is committed to working with our African partners to maximize the opportunities created by our trade preference programs like AGOA. And we hope more African nations will take advantage of AGOA.

We also continue to explore ways to promote African private sector growth and investment, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
In the midst of these efforts, we cannot forget the critical role African women play as producers and agricultural traders – they must take part in this economic growth. We must ensure that African women are an equal part of Africa’s economic future and success.

THIRD: Health-Related Issues

Historically the United States has focused on public health and health-related issues in Africa. We are committed to continuing that focus. We will work side-by-side with African governments and civil society to ensure that quality treatment, prevention, and care are easily accessible to communities throughout Africa.

From HIV/AIDS to malaria, Africans endure and suffer a multitude of health pandemics that weaken countries on many fronts. Sick men and women cannot work and contribute to the economy. They cannot serve in the armed forces or police and they cannot provide for the security of their counties.

To help solve the health crisis that is occurring throughout the entire continent, Africans as well as the international community must invest in public health systems, in training more medical professionals, and must ensure that there are good jobs and well-paying opportunities in their own countries for doctors and nurses once they are trained. We must also focus on maternal and infant health care, which are closely related to several Millennium Development Goals.
The Obama Administration will continue the PEPFAR Program and the Bush administration’s fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and polio, the Obama Administration has pledged $63 billion to meet public health challenges throughout Africa.

FOURTH: Preventing, Resolving Conflicts

The U.S. is committed to working with African states and the international community to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts and disputes. Conflict destabilizes states and borders, stifles economic growth and investment, and robs young Africans of the opportunity for an education and a better life. Conflict sets back nations for a generation. Throughout Africa, there has been a notable reduction in the number of conflicts over the past decade.
The brutal conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have come to an end, and we have seen Liberia transform itself into a democracy through the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state. These examples of what can be accomplished in a short period of time should make us proud and hopeful for solving the problems of seemingly intractable conflicts elsewhere.

However, areas of turmoil and political unrest such as Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Madagascar create both internal and regional instability. Furthermore, we must not forget the extreme harm inflicted by gender-based violence and the recruitment of child soldiers. The Obama Administration is working to end these conflicts so that peace and economic progress can replace instability and uncertainty.

President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to work with African leaders to help resolve these conflicts through the appointment of the Special Presidential Envoy for Sudan, General Scott Gration, whose mandate is to ensure the full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Special Advisor for the Great Lakes former Congressman Howard Wolpe is also working to bring peace and stability to the Eastern Congo.
We will also continue our cooperation with regional leaders to look for ways to end Somalia’s protracted political and humanitarian crisis. We continue to call for well-meaning actors in the region to support the Djibouti Peace process of inclusion and reconciliation, and to reject those extremists and their supporters that seek to exploit the suffering of the Somali people.
Additionally, the United States is proactive in working with African leaders, civil society organizations, and the international community to prevent new conflicts. We are cooperating with African leaders to defuse possible disagreements before they become sources of open hostility. As we pursue these avenues of promoting stability and peace in Somalia, we are also shouldering the lion’s share of humanitarian assistance to the people of Somalia.
The United States consistently has been the largest single country donor of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, providing more than $150 million in humanitarian assistance in 2009.

FIFTH: Transnational Challenges

We will seek to deepen our cooperation with African states to address both old and new transnational challenges. The 21st century ushered in new transnational challenges for Africa and the world.
Africa’s poverty puts it at a distinct disadvantage in dealing with major global and transnational problems like climate change, narco-trafficking, trafficking in persons and arms, and the illegal exploitation of Africa’s minerals and maritime resources.
Meeting the climate and clean energy challenge is a top priority for the United States and the Obama Administration.

Climate change affects the entire globe; its potential impact on water supplies and food security can be disastrous. As President Obama said in Ghana, “while Africa gives off less greenhouse gasses than any other part of the world, it will be the most threatened by climate change.” Often those who have contributed the least to the problem are the ones who are affected the most by it, and the United States is committed to working with Africans to find viable solutions to adapt to the severe consequences of climate change.

The effects of climate change are clear: the snow cap of Mount Kilimanjaro is melting and Lake Chad is a fraction of the size it was 35 years ago. With our international partners, the United States is working to build a sustainable, clean energy global economy which can drive investment and job creation around the world, including bringing energy services to the African continent.
There is no time like the present to face this issue as it carries tremendous consequences for future generations and our planet.

Narco-trafficking is a major challenge for Africa and the world. If we do not address it, African countries will be vulnerable to the destabilizing force of narcotics trafficking in the years ahead. As Africa faces the impact of these new transnational problems, the United States will actively work with leaders and governments across the continent to confront all issues that are global in nature.

I would now like to turn to our new programs and initiatives, which work to implement our policies to move our partnership with Africa forward. We are establishing in-depth, high level dialogues with South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, and with the African Union.
We are increasing our cooperation with other countries interested in Africa such as Canada, the UK, France, China, Japan, and multilateral bodies like the EU.

We also hope that increased funding for projects and programs in Africa, as requested in the 2011 budget, will be approved by Congress. With enhanced resources we can further strengthen our partnership with Africa.

Finally, one of my personal goals is to expand our diplomatic presence in Africa. I am working with the Administration and Congress to increase resources – both funding and people – at our embassies and consulates. I want more American diplomats living and working in Africa. An increased diplomatic presence is important for our mutual progress on all of these pressing issues. It is my sincere desire to open more consulates in Africa, which will enable us to reach your citizens beyond the capital cities.

We must be in Mombasa as well as Nairobi, we must be in Goma as well as Kinshasa, and we will be in Kano as well as Abuja.

We must also do a better job of using our diplomatic presence on the continent to listen to the people of Africa and learn from them how we can better work together on the challenges they face.

The Obama Administration believes in and is committed to Africa’s future. I am excited about the level of interest you, the next generation of African and American leaders, have shown to take the future of Africa into your hands as President Obama called for in Ghana. I appreciate your commitment to this shared vision and your willingness to work together toward a future that brings better governance, expanded democracy, and greater prosperity to Africa’s people. I hope that many of you in this room will choose careers in public service, either in the Peace Corps and the Foreign Service, like I did. I also anticipate that some of you will return to your countries and serve there as the next generation of leaders who can help make progress on some of the challenges facing Africa, which I have mentioned tonight. For those of you who enter the business world, recall what I have said about the vast economic opportunities that remain untapped in Africa. Africa’s challenges demand the kind of energy and creativity that I know is present in this room.

Thank you very much for your time, thank you for this invitation, and now I turn it over to you for questions.

AGOA The African Growth and Opportunity Act

Posted by Judy Miriga

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The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. President Bush signed amendments to AGOA, also known as AGOA II, into law on August 6, 2002 as Sec. 3108 of the Trade Act of 2002. AGOA II substantially expands preferential access for imports from beneficiary Sub-Saharan African countries.

By modifying certain provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the AGOA Acceleration Act of 2004 (AGOA III, signed by President Bush on July 12, 2004) extends preferential access for imports from beneficiary Sub Saharan African countries until September 30, 2015; extends third country fabric provision for three years, from September 2004 until September 2007; and provides additional Congressional guidance to the Administration on how to administer the textile provisions of the bill.

The Africa Investment Incentive Act of 2006 (signed by President Bush on December 20, 2006) further amends portions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and is referred to as "AGOA IV". The legislation extends the third country fabric provision for an additional five years, from September 2007 until September 2012; adds an abundant supply provision; designates certain denim articles as being in abundant supply; and allows lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries export certain textile articles under AGOA. AGOA provides reforming African countries with the most liberal access to the U.S. market available to any country or region with which the United States does not have a Free Trade Agreement. It supports U.S. business by encouraging reform of Africa’s economic and commercial regimes, which will build stronger markets and more effective partners for U.S. firms.

AGOA expands the list of products which eligible Sub-Saharan African countries may export to the United States subject to zero import duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). While general GSP covers approximately 4,600 items, AGOA GSP applies to more than 6,400 items. AGOA GSP provisions are in effect until September 30, 2015.AGOA can change the course of trade relations between Africa and the United States for the long term, while helping millions of African families find opportunities to build prosperity:

By reinforcing African reform efforts;

By providing improved access to U.S. technical expertise, credit, and markets; and

By establishing a high-level dialogue on trade and investment.

Since its implementation, AGOA has encouraged substantial new investments, trade, and job creation in Africa. It has helped to promote Sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the multilateral trading system and a more active role in global trade negotiations. It has also contributed to economic and commercial reforms which make African countries more attractive commercial partners for U.S. companies.


An AGOA Implementation Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) was established to implement AGOA. Among the most important implementation issues are the following:

Determination of country eligibility;

Determination of the products eligible for zero tariff under expansion of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP);

Determinations of compliance with the conditions for apparel benefits;

Establishment of the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Forum; and
Provisions for technical assistance to help countries qualify for benefits.


The U.S. Government intends that the largest possible number of Sub-Saharan African countries are able to take advantage of AGOA. President Clinton issued a proclamation on October 2, 2000 designating 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as eligible for the trade benefits of AGOA. The proclamation was the result of a public comment period and extensive interagency deliberations of each country’s performance against the eligibility criteria established in the Act. On January 18, 2001, Swaziland was designated as the 35th AGOA eligible country and on May 16, 2002 Côte d'Ivoire was designated as the 36th AGOA eligible country. On January 1, 2003 The Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo were designated as the 37th and 38th AGOA eligible countries. On January 1, 2004, Angola was designated as AGOA eligibile. Effective January 1, 2004, however, the President removed the Central African Republic and Eritrea from the list of eligible countries. On December 10, 2004, the President designated Burkina Faso as AGOA eligible. Effective January 1, 2005, the President removed Côte d'Ivoire from the list of eligible countries. Effective January 1, 2006, the President designated Burundi as AGOA eligible and removed Mauritania from the list of eligible countries. Effective December 29, 2006, the President designated Liberia as AGOA eligible. Effective June 28, 2007, the President again designated Mauritania as AGOA eligible. Effective April 17, 2008, the President designated Togo as AGOA eligible. Effective June 30, 2008, the President designated Comoros as AGOA eligible. Effective January 1, 2009, the President again removed Mauritania from the list of AGOA eligible countries. The U.S. Government will work with eligible countries to sustain their efforts to institute policy reforms, and with the remaining nine Sub-Saharan African countries to help them achieve eligibility.The Act authorizes the President to designate countries as eligible to receive the benefits of AGOA if they are determined to have established, or are making continual progress toward establishing the following: 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. These criteria have been embraced overwhelmingly by the vast majority of African nations, which are striving to achieve the objectives although none is expected to have fully implemented the entire list. The eligibility criteria for GSP and AGOA substantially overlap, and countries must be GSP eligible in order to receive AGOA’s trade benefits including both expanded GSP and the apparel provisions. Although GSP eligibility does not imply AGOA eligibility, 47 of the 48 Sub-Saharan African countries are currently GSP eligible.


AGOA authorizes the President to provide duty-free treatment under GSP for any article, after the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) have determined that the article is not import sensitive when imported from African countries. On December 21, 2000, the President extended dutyfree treatment under GSP to AGOA eligible countries for more than 1,800 tariff line items in addition to the standard GSP list of approximately 4,600 items available to non-AGOA GSP beneficiary countries. The additional GSP line items which include such previously excluded items as footwear, luggage, handbags, watches, and flatware were implemented after an extensive process of public comment and review. AGOA extends GSP for eligible Sub-Saharan African beneficiaries until September 30, 2015. Sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries are also exempted from competitive need limitations which cap the GSP benefits available to beneficiaries in other regions.


AGOA provides duty-free and quota-free treatment for eligible apparel articles made in qualifying sub-Saharan African countries through 2015. Qualifying articles include: apparel made of U.S. yarns and fabrics; apparel made of sub-Saharan African (regional) yarns and fabrics until 2015, subject to a cap; apparel made in a designated lesser-developed country of third-country yarns and fabrics until 2012, subject to a cap; apparel made of yarns and fabrics not produced in commercial quantities in the United States; textile or textile articles originating entirely in one or more lesser-developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries; certain cashmere and merino wool sweaters; and eligible handloomed, handmade, or folklore articles, and ethnic printed fabrics.

Under a Special Rule for lesser-developed beneficiary countries, those countries with a per capita GNP under $1,500 in 1998, will enjoy an additional preference in the form of duty-free/quota-free access for apparel made from fabric originating anywhere in the world. The Special Rule is in effect until September 30, 2012 and is subject to a cap. AGOA IV continues the designation of Botswana and Namibia as lesser-developed beneficiary countries, qualifying both countries for the Special Rule.


provides for special rules for fabrics or yarns produced in commercial quantities (or "abundant supply") in any designated sub-Saharan African country for use in qualifying apparel articles. Upon receiving a petition from any interested party, the International Trade Commission will determine the quantity of such fabrics or yarns that must be sourced from the region before applying the third country fabric provision. It also provides for 30 million square meter equivalents (SMEs) of denim to be determined to be in abundant supply beginning October 1, 2006. The U.S. International Trade Commission will provide further guidance on how it will implement this provision.

Preferential treatment for apparel took effect on October 1, 2000, but beneficiary countries must first establish effective visa systems to prevent illegal transshipment and use of counterfeit documentation, and that they have instituted required enforcement and verification procedures. Specific requirements of the visa systems and verification procedures were promulgated to African governments via U.S. embassies on September 21, 2000. The Secretary of Commerce is directed to monitor apparel imports on a monthly basis to guard against surges. If increased imports are causing or threatening serious damage to the U.S. apparel industry, the President is to suspend duty-free treatment for the article(s) in question. The U.S. Government is now reviewing applications for approval of the required visa and enforcement mechanisms from AGOA eligible countries.


(click here for further details on apparel eligibility provisions)


The Act directs the President to organize a U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Forum, to be hosted by the Secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, and the U.S. Trade Representative. The Forum is to serve as the vehicle for regular dialogue between the United States and African countries on issues of economics, trade, and investment. The Act also calls for annual reports to Congress through 2008 on U.S. trade and investment policy in Africa and implementation of the Act.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Trade Is Key to Africa’s Economic Growth"

Ambassador Ron Kirk (USTR)

As United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Kirk is a member of President Obama's Cabinet and serves as the President's principal trade advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues.
Ambassador Kirk was nominated to be United States Trade Representative by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 18, 2009. During his tenure at USTR, Ambassador Kirk has led the office in developing trade policies that are proactive, responsible, and more responsive to American families' interests - recognizing that trade can be a job-creating pillar of economic recovery in the United States and around the world. Highlights have included a new focus on trade policy that assists America's small- and medium-sized businesses, increased enforcement efforts to bring home the benefits of existing trade agreements, and changes to move forward the Doha Round of world trade negotiations.
Ambassador Kirk draws upon more than 25 years of diverse legislative and economic experience on local, state and federal levels. As the first African American mayor of Dallas from 1995 - 2001, Ambassador Kirk expanded Dallas' reach to the world through a range of trade programs, including numerous trade missions. Previously, he served as Texas Secretary of State under Governor Ann Richards; as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) and as chair of Texas' General Service Commission. Ambassador Kirk also served as a City of Dallas assistant city attorney.
Prior to joining USTR, Ambassador Kirk was a partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP. He was named one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal in 2008, and one of the nation's top government relations lawyers by The Best Lawyers in America from 2007-2009.
Ambassador Kirk was born and raised in Austin, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1979. He is married to Matrice Ellis-Kirk. He and his wife have two daughters, Elizabeth Alexandra and Catherine Victoria.

USTR's Office of African Affairs develops and coordinates U.S. trade and investment policy for the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. It leads the negotiation and implementation of U.S. trade agreements and initiatives that further the Administration's economic and development policies in the region.
The Africa Office seeks to open sub-Saharan African markets to U.S. goods, services, and investment, while at the same time helping African countries to use trade to advance their economic development. It oversees implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program and works closely with other U.S. agencies, such as USAID, to help eligible African countries make the most of AGOA's trade benefits.
The Africa Office leads U.S. Government interagency engagement with sub-Saharan African partners on trade and investment issues, including under our eleven trade and investment framework agreements (TIFAs) with sub-Saharan African countries and regional economic organizations. The United States also has a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement with the five countries of the Southern African Customs Union and bilateral investment treaties with six sub-Saharan African partners.
The Africa Office maintains an ongoing dialogue with sub-Saharan African countries on issues related to the WTO Doha negotiations. It also works closely with other Africa trade policy stakeholders, including Members of Congress (testimony on U.S.-Africa Relations), the African and American private sectors, and civil society in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

Recently, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs Florie Liser sat down with writer Charles Corey to talk about how trade is helping countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Read the article below.

Trade is the key to long-term, sustainable economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa, says Florizelle Liser, assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa.

Because trade is vital to sub-Saharan Africa's economic future and to improving lives and livelihoods, the 8th Annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, August 4-6, is an important venue for cultivation of trade opportunities, Liser said in a July 21 interview with

"Trade is critically important to economic development. Right now, Africa has about 2 percent of all world trade, which is hard to believe when you think about all of the tremendous resources that they have - oil, diamonds, gold ... not to mention all the agricultural products such as coffee, tea, cocoa - and to think that Africa still only has 2 percent of world trade is really incredible. But the power of trade is that if the Africans were able to increase their share of world trade from 2 to 3 percent, that 1 percentage increase would actually generate about $70 billion of additional income annually for Africa," or about three times the total development assistance Africa gets from the entire world, Liser said.

Many countries in Asia and Latin America, she said, "don't have even one smidgen of Africa's natural resources - a country like South Korea, for example - yet they are huge players in the global trading system. This is why having AGOA as one initiative aimed at expanding the U.S. aspect of our economic relationship with the Africans" is so important.

Liser said the United States needs to work with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa in many areas so they can take full advantage of both AGOA and worldwide trading opportunities and send exports to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil.

And Africans must begin trading more with each other. "Africans trade the least with each other than all the other continents. It is improving. We are seeing a greater increase in intra-African trade, but," she emphasized, "the reason that that is important is that you are unlikely to be competitive globally if you are not competitive regionally. So until they open their borders with each other and trade with each other, you are not going to get the level of competition that will allow them to be major providers of any product globally."

For that reason, the United States strongly encourages all African countries to develop an "AGOA strategy" based on export promotion and competiveness, she said.

"You look at the products you have, and you determine the three or four particular products or sectors [where] you have a comparative advantage,"
she explained. "Then you look carefully at what are the challenges that face those three or four products or sectors and what would the country have to do to make them more competitive." Some countries are employing this strategy and bringing together their trade, finance, transport and energy ministers and investment promotion experts. "You sit all of these people around the table and you have them ... determine, step by step, what they have to do to advance the competitiveness of those three or four products or sectors."

Recently, Liser talked to the Tanzanians about the AGOA strategy they are developing. Tanzania produces the cotton for the Venus Williams line of tennis shirts, which also is manufactured at a plant in Tanzania. "I challenged them. I said you only have one plant. You have all this cotton. You have cotton farmers who would benefit if you could create more of these factories," which in turn could employ many more people. "The problem is that, as is true with most of the AGOA countries, you have huge potential but you don't have the investment and the focus on how to take that and duplicate and multiply that." The apparel industry, she added, is a "gateway to industrialization."

Africa's share of the U.S. import apparel market is less than 2 percent. By comparison, she said, depending on the product, Bangladesh exports to the United States three to five times the amount of apparel that is exported to the United States by all sub-Saharan African countries combined. "That shows you that they [the Africans] have huge potential but somehow that is not being advanced." U.S. imports under AGOA in 2008 totaled $66.3 billion, with $5.1 billion in nonoil trade, a sector that Liser says the United States wants to further expand.

Another issue, she said, is the need for much more domestic and foreign investment on the continent: "Without that investment, these factories that we are talking about building simply will not be built." She added that "it is not just about foreign direct investment, but also about domestic investment and government investment in the infrastructure that supports trade."

Acknowledging that there is confusion, Liser said it is important to understand what AGOA really is.

"AGOA is essentially a trade preference program which adds about 1,800 products to the list of about 4,600 products that are already eligible to enter the United States duty free under the Generalized System of Preferences. The purpose of AGOA in adding those 1,800 products was to give the Africans a competitive advantage in the U.S. market for additional value-added products. ... So AGOA is important because it is one of the major ways that we have to help encourage greater value addition to Africa's production of agricultural and manufactured products."

Often, she added, people think AGOA is just about textiles and apparel. It is not. "So ... the first thing we need to understand is what it does, and that it is working. We are getting a greater number of value-added nontraditional products entering the U.S. under AGOA. But again," she acknowledged, Africa is "starting from a very small base. So even though we have seen growth, we have not gotten anywhere near the potential."

Ask the Ambassador: African Growth and Opportunity Act

03/29/2010 - 12:19pm

We recently received a question about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Frank from Texas asks:

"Ambassador Kirk, I just found out the AGOA benefits will be over starting January 1, 2010. Why? This has been a great benefit for countries such as Madagascar. Are there any plans in the future to reverse this? Has this been implemented already?"

Ambassador Kirk responds:

"Thank you for the question, Frank. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will not expire until 2015. However, AGOA requires the President to annually designate countries as eligible to receive the benefits of the Act, if they meet the Act's eligibility criteria. These criteria include, among other things, progress on rule of law and political pluralism. The March 2009 undemocratic transfer of power in Madagascar, and the subsequent failure to establish concrete steps toward re-establishing a constitutional democratic government and rule of law led to the termination of Madagascar's AGOA benefits in January 2010. The United States joined the international community, including the African Union and the southern African Development Community in condemning the March 2009 coup. According to the AGOA legislation, all nations will once again be up for review at the end of 2010.

For the 38 countries that meet the eligibility criteria, the combination of most favored nation rates (MFN), Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and AGOA means that almost all their goods enter the United States duty-free. Africa accounts for only two percent of global trade and it is an initiative like AGOA that can bolster Africa's capacity to trade internationally, while also opening new business opportunities for American workers and firms. Two-way trade between the United States and AGOA nations has more than doubled since the AGOA legislation was signed in 2000. AGOA increases trade opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, like the molded fiber-glass home manufacturer from Mississippi shipping their low-maintenance and energy-efficient structures to Nigeria and other AGOA members. AGOA has also played an important part in generating dialogue and brokering partnerships between American and African entrepreneurs- expanding opportunities for both trade and investment. We look forward to a year of growth and recovery with our African trading partners, as American businesses expand into new markets, and bring the benefits of trade back home to our workers and families."
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk Celebrates 10th Anniversary of AGOA with Members of Congress
Trade Preference Program for African Countries Continues to Boost U.S.-African Trade

Washington, D.C. –
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk presided at a ceremony on Capitol Hill today heralding the 10th Anniversary of the enactment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program. Ambassador Kirk was joined by several past and present Members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – who played key roles in the drafting, passage and implementation of AGOA, including Congressman Sander Levin, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Charles Rangel, Congressman Dave Camp, Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Kevin Brady, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick, Congresswoman Gwen Moore Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Ed Royce, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and Former Chairman Bill Thomas, Ways and Means Committee. Others participating in the event included members of the African Diplomatic Corps and representatives of the private sector and civil society organizations.
“By opening the American market to almost all goods from beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries, AGOA has helped Africans use trade to fight poverty and grow their economies – and AGOA is also good for U.S. business,” said Ambassador Kirk. “By promoting an improved business environment in many African countries, AGOA has opened up new opportunities for U.S. exports. The result is a substantial increase in two-way U.S.-Africa trade since 2000, with African countries now exporting to the United States a more diverse range of value-added products. The success of AGOA is a powerful demonstration of the linkage between trade and economic development – and more can be done to help African countries make the most of the opportunities AGOA provides.”
Background on AGOA:
Congress passed the AGOA legislation in early 2000 with strong bipartisan support. President Clinton signed the AGOA bill into law on May 18, 2000. Since then, three successive administrations, including the Obama Administration, have actively implemented AGOA, working closely with African partners and other stakeholders to help them make the most of the program.
AGOA builds on the existing Generalized System of Preferences program to allow eligible sub-Saharan African countries to export almost any product to the United States duty-free (nearly 6,500 tariff lines), with a special focus on value-added and non-traditional products such as apparel, footwear, and processed agricultural goods. Since AGOA’s enactment, U.S. non-oil imports from sub-Saharan Africa under AGOA have more than doubled, reaching $3.4 billion in 2009. Among the sectors that have experienced sizable increases under AGOA are apparel, footwear, vehicles, fruits and nuts, prepared vegetables, leather products, cut flowers, prepared seafood, and essential oils.
Several countries have witnessed noteworthy increases in exports under AGOA:
-- South Africa exports the widest range of AGOA products, including vehicles, citrus, wine, and footwear;
-- Lesotho has become the leading sub-Saharan African exporter of apparel to the United States;
-- Kenya’s AGOA exports include fresh cut roses, sport fishing supplies, nuts, plastic products, jewelry, and essential oils, as well as apparel;
-- Ghana’s value-added exports under AGOA include chocolates, jewelry, baskets, and preserved pineapple.
AGOA requires the President to determine annually whether sub-Saharan African countries are eligible for benefits under AGOA based on their progress in meeting certain criteria set out in the Act, including progress toward implementing economic reforms, establishing the rule of law, reducing poverty, and strengthening labor and human rights. There are currently 38 sub-Saharan African countries eligible for AGOA.[1]
The United States has provided substantial trade capacity building assistance to African governments and firms to help them utilize AGOA trade preferences. Much of this assistance is carried out by experts at four regional competitiveness hubs, managed by USAID, that work with African governments and businesses to identify and develop AGOA trade opportunities. The United States provided over
$1 billion dollars for trade capacity building activities in sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, including trade-related assistance provided under Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts with African countries.
AGOA also established an annual, high-level dialogue between officials of the United States and AGOA beneficiary countries: the AGOA Forum. The next AGOA Forum, to be held in Washington, DC on August 2-3, 2010, will bring together Cabinet-level officials from the United States and AGOA beneficiary countries, along with representatives of the African and American private sector and non-governmental organizations, to discuss issues related to U.S.-sub-Saharan African trade and economic cooperation.
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[1] Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.