US decision to extend AGOA benefits welcomed – Alan Winde

WCape Premier says investors can be assured that their investments are being put to good use in province

Western Cape Government notes US legislation to extend AGOA benefits

15 April 2024

Premier Alan Winde noted the introduction of legislation in the United States of America that will see the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), benefitting several African nations, including South Africa.

“This is a step in the right direction. AGOA has been critical for the Western Cape and South Africa. It has benefitted and boosted the Western Cape’s economy, particularly the province’s job-creating agriculture sector and extending the programme will go a long way in furthering our province’s promising growth,” the Premier said.

South Africa’s agricultural sector benefits immensely from access to AGOA, with 70% of agricultural products to the US relying on the programme. But the Western Cape’s economic losses, especially to this sector – should South Africa have lost access to AGOA benefits - would have been twice the magnitude of the rest of the country.

AGOA is a preferential trade programme that came into effect in 2000.

While the Premier added that the bipartisan move by US senators to further extend AGOA will bring much-needed policy certainty at a vital time for the Western Cape and South Africa, he noted another piece of draft US legislation, the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act, may still compromise the vital export relationship with the economic power-house.

He continued, “We may be a step closer to remaining a beneficiary of AGOA - a critical economic enabler – and we can sustain our mission to enable the creation of even more jobs in our province.” He stressed, “Investors can be assured that their investments are being put to good use in our province to keep building an enabling environment for growth and employment.”

Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger said “At the core of the Western Cape Government's (WCG) economic action plan, 'Growth for Jobs', lies the commitment to enable a vibrant private sector that can attract investments capable of creating jobs. This initiative is rooted in the understanding that only through significantly higher levels of economic growth can we help lift people from poverty to prosperity. This economic growth blueprint is aimed at building a R1 trillion economy characterised by inclusivity, resilience, and diversity. One of our key aims is to triple exports by 2035. Within this framework, AGOA stands out as a critical element, enhancing our ability to achieve heightened economic growth and job creation by facilitating access to the US market, and supporting our broader economic ambitions,”.

“As the WCG, we have been working hard to protect our economic ties and benefits with the US and other international partners. This essentially means tens of thousands of jobs - both here and in the US - are protected, and many more will be created. The WCG remains committed to adhering to the eligibility requirements of AGOA,” the Premier concluded.

Issued by Regan Thaw, Media Liaison Officer, Office of the Premier, 15 April 2024