US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s commitment to extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond its expiration date of 2025.

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“President Biden fully supports AGOA reauthorization.” But we don’t simply want to extend AGOA; we want to engage with the US Congress to improve it. And that is the topic of this week’s discussion,” he stated on Friday.

Blinken was delivering a video message to delegates at the three-day AGOA Forum at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

AGOA, which was established in 2000, allows qualifying African countries’ exports to enter the US market duty-free.

“Last year, I traveled to South Africa to lay out the United States strategy to sub-Saharan Africa, and to its core, it’s about partnerships — what the United States can do with African nations and not for African nations.”

Blinken feels that AGOA is crucial to realizing this objective because it has benefited thousands of individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa over the last two decades.

“AGOA has meant new jobs, new skills, new connections and new investment. It has meant less corruption and greater human and labor rights.”

The piece of legislation, according to the United States Secretary of State, has translated into partnerships to advance new solutions to shared challenges from the climate crisis to food insecurity, to supply chain disruptions and vulnerabilities.

“More inclusive, sustainable growth is good for Africa and good for America and good for the world,” Blinken said.

In addition, he said America was dedicated to December’s African Leaders’ Summit commitments, which are essential to creating economies and societies where trade and investment can flourish.

Through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment, Blinken believes his country is lending a helping hand to finance projects like the Lobito Corridor between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Angola, which will enhance connectivity and make it easier to do business in and with Africa.

In addition, the United States, Blinken said, is mobilizing US$8 billion in private and public investments to bolster climate resistance and advance women’s economic empowerment.

“We remain the single biggest country investor by far in food security and public health in the region and we’re working on new efforts like our VACS initiative to strengthen African seeds and soils,” he said, adding that they will support elevating African voices in global diplomacy.

Blinken welcomed the African Union joining the G20 and International Monetary Fund, which is working to expand sub-Saharan representation on its Executive Board.

On the other hand, he said the United States remains committed to reforming the United Nations Security Council to include permanent representation for Africa.

“This flourishing partnership between the United States and Africa gives me tremendous hope. And through gatherings like this, we continue to shape a future where workers and businesses are equipped and empowered, where governments are transparent and accountable, where all our people can thrive, and where our nations can come together for the good of our people and the world.”

AGOA is a United States Trade Act that was passed as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress on May 18, 2000.

The AGOA Act has been renewed several times, most recently in 2015, when its validity period was extended to September 2025.

The Act greatly improves eligible Sub-Saharan African countries’ market access to the United States by awarding special program indicators to about 6 800 tariff lines in the American tariff schedule.

This enables US importers to clear products sourced from AGOA-eligible African countries duty-free.