Zambia: African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum preparations underway

By Nawa Mutumweno – The Zambian government is to spend about $2 million to host the 10th edition of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum scheduled for Lusaka from June 6 – 8, 2011.

This is the first time Zambia is hosting the forum which will attract about 2 000 delegates from America and the 37 AGOA-eligible countries to promote trade and investment between the continent and the USA.

According to Ministry of Commerce, Trade & Industry senior economist Healey Mweemba, the AGOA initiative by the American government is key to enhancing trade, widely recognized as an important factor in poverty reduction.

He was speaking in the Zambian capital recently at a media workshop organized by the ministry under the auspices of the American Embassy to enhancing media understanding and reporting of the initiative.

Earlier, US Embassy deputy chief of mission, Stephen Schwartz, pledged his country’s commitment to supporting Zambia and other African countries benefit from AGOA.

The 37 eligible countries can export about 6 500 products to the US market but this could only be realized if African countries position themselves adequately, he added.

“The US has removed barriers to trade and we believe Zambia can take advantage of AGOA to penetrate the market,” he said.

In October 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted President Banda’s offer to host the upcoming forum.

Through the hosting of the AGOA Forum, Zambia will be at the centre stage of the global trade and investment arena, an ideal time to showcase the country’s trade, investment and tourism opportunities.

Meanwhile, some sub-committees have been constituted by Cabinet Office to oversee the preparations for the event. These include Conference and Accreditation; Transport; Security; Protocol; Accommodation and Hospitality; Finance and Procurement; Private Sector; Civil Society and African Women Entrepreneurship.