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International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council
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Promoting an Open and Equitable Global Food System

IPC Global Reach: Africa



  • Ajay Vashee: President, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions. (Zambia)

Events and Seminars

Washington, DC

July 28, 2010

Washington, DC

March 2, 2010

Geneva, Switzerland

June 26, 2008

Studies that Focused on Africa

AGOA Countries: Considerations in Exporting Horticultural Products to the United States (Full Issue Brief)

Horticultural Exports from AGOA Countries to the U.S.: Challenges and Considerations (IPC Policy Focus)

Ten years after being singed into law, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has contributed to a significant increase in African exports to the U.S. but this export growth is heavily concentrated in oil and gas products, and the amount of agricultural goods exported to the U.S. is only a small fraction of total U.S. imports from Africa. This paper explores the reasons why agricultural exports from Africa to the U.S. are so limited, focusing on the opportunities and constraints for export of edible horticultural products, which represent an important source of income for many AGOA Countries.

U.S. Tariff-Rate Quotas and AGOA Market Access

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides preferential access to the U.S. market for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries above and beyond the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). However, agricultural products covered by tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) are excluded from GSP and AGOA preferences. As agricultural is a key driver for poverty alleviation and economic growth in Africa, it is especially important to examine how changes to U.S. trade policy can serve to strengthen the export performance of this sector. This paper explains how TRQs work and what their implications are for AGOA market access.

AGOA and Agriculture

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted in 2000 to help diversify Africa’s export production, expand trade and investment between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, and accelerate Africa’s economic growth. Countries must qualify for AGOA benefits based on criteria which include the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, and enactment of poverty reduction strategies. Forty African countries are currently eligible for AGOA benefits, which provide preferential access to the US market above and beyond the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and Most-Favored Nation (MFN) systems.

US Farm Programs and African Cotton
Prompted by the results of the WTO cotton case pursued by Brazil against the US, IPC's paper analyzes issues related to cotton and trade, with a particular focus on the elimination or reduction of US cotton export and domestic subsidies and the possible consequences for African cotton farmers. The paper provides an update on trade reforms undertaken to date and set forth the possible drivers for further US reforms. It also projects the expected outcome and impact of reforms undertaken either as a result of the US coming into compliance with the WTO cotton panel ruling, US implementation a concluded Doha Development agreement, or US farm policy reforms brought about through the 2007 Farm Bill. The paper reflects on the options available to least developed countries attempting to change the nature of domestic support in developed countries, and how such options could be improved or expanded.

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