Nazaru LLC, a US-based company focused on driving increased trade with Africa, has launched an online export training course in a bid to leverage on the opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Nazaru accomplishes this through trade facilitation, stakeholder engagement and driving increased commercial interests in Africa.
It is estimated that the US does only 2% of trade with the entire African continent. The overall goal of Nazaru is to increase that by providing visibility to the talent and sourcing opportunities that exist on the continent.
“Africa’s exporters who want to get into the US market is the primary target and African Diaspora who would import are the secondary target,” says Toyin Umesiri, the chief executive Nazaru and the Founder & Convener of the Trade with Africa Business Summit.
Some of the topical areas to be covered in the online course include: Benefits of AGOA, AGOA Trade Roles, Target Market Consumer Research, Pricing Strategy, Branding & Marketing, Packaging & Label Design, Building a Distribution Channel Strategy, Scalability & Quality Management, Transportation & Logistics.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement coming into force in July, to become the largest free trade area since the creation of the World Trade Organisation, Toyin says African states should not abandon global trade.
“Both regional and global trade is important and one should not overshadow the other,” she says.
“It is a great thing that at this time in history both global and regional markets are open to Africa and I encourage the Private sector to get in the game and leverage these opportunities for Africa’s future prosperity.”
“Let everyone get to work on these dynamic opportunities that are absolutely incredible to see initiatives like AfCFTA and AGOA concurrently run.”
In Augusts 2019, the United States and the African Union said they intend to work together with respect to the AfCFTA to promote a sound trade policy environment, regional economies of scale, and the increased flow of goods and services on the continent in order to increase both continental trade and investment, as well as trade and investment between the United States and Africa.
AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade agreement enacted in 2000 that provides duty-free treatment to US imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.
AGOA intends to promote market-led economic growth and development in sub-Saharan African and deepen US trade and investment ties with the region.
As of last year, 39 countries were designated as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.
However, beginning January 2020, under the presidential proclamation released on 26 December 2019, Cameroon lost its AGOA benefits because of ‘persistent gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
The Central Africa Republic, Niger, and The Gambia are no longer eligible for preferential treatment because they have not established an effective visa system and related customs procedures.
The AGOA is set to expire in 2025.