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Saturday, July 3, 2010

African Growth Opportunity Act, AGOA

African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA was signed into law on May 18, 2000. The Act offers incentives to African countries who continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. The Kingdom of Swaziland is reportedly not holding up its end of the bargain of the AGOA.


Swaziland capital, Mbabane, lies at the northern end of the Ezulwini Valley. The landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland surrounded by South Africa but on the east shares a small border with Mozambique.
Swaziland is the smallest country in the African southern hemisphere and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey. The threat of Swaziland being suspended from a US preferential trade agreement for poor progress in meeting democratic norms is threatening the means of support for an extensive number workers in the Kingdom.
Swaziland Protest seen outside the Savoy Hotel by garryknight
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law on May 18, 2000. The Act offers noticeable incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. The Kingdom of Swaziland is reportedly not holding up its end of the bargain of the AGOA.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others wrote an open letter to King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, stating in part “a disregard for legal procedures and basic human rights” and warned of “lasting damage to your country’s standing with potential international investors and ....economic and political isolation,” if there was not change and dialogue.
US Ambassador to Swaziland Makila James that non-compliance with US recommendations would mean “on January 1, 2015, goods coming into the United States from Swaziland will be assessed duty because there will no longer be a trade preference to allow them duty-free entry." Unemployment in Swaziland is current around 40% and the median age is 21 due to a number of factors.  An African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) suspension from the US will incredibly hurt an already fragile economy.


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