The United States and Togo will co-host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lome, Togo from Aug. 8-10. A delegation of U.S. officials including representatives of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Agency for International Development visited Togo from June 19-23 to finalize the preparations for the Forum. The delegation, led by Constance Hamilton, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, met with the Minister of Trade, Mrs. Essossimna Legzim Balouki, and the President of the National Organization Committee and Focal Point of the AGOA Forum, Minister, Advisor to President of the Republic, Mrs. Dede Ahoéfa Ekoue, as well as with all the AGOA Forum committees and subcommittees, private sector representatives, and members of civil society, in order to finalize the logistics, protocol, and programmatic aspects of the event.
The theme of this year’s Forum is “The U.S. and Africa: Partnering for Prosperity through Trade.” The 2017 Forum will explore how countries can continue to maximize the benefits of AGOA in a rapidly changing economic landscape, and highlight the important role played by women, civil society, and the private sector in promoting trade, expanding inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and generating prosperity.
The AGOA law, which enhances market access to the U.S. for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, has been the cornerstone of the U.S. government’s trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa since 2000. The law mandates that each year a special Forum be convened to discuss issues related to the implementation of the law and issues of economic cooperation and trade in general. The Forum alternates between the U.S. and Africa. Previous AGOA Forums organized in Africa have been held in Mauritius, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Gabon.