Change in attitude to boost Tanzania’s engagement with AGOA
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Tanzanians are appealing to their government to initiate measures to boost flagging trade in the preferential zone set up by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
AGOA is a trade deal which aims to bring Africa into the international market through free trade agreements with the United States.
Tanzania's level of trade within the preferential zone has steadily decreased in recent years, from 18.8 percent in 2000 to 4.1 percent in 2015; it comes as little wonder that business owners from across the country are calling for decisive action to reverse the worrying trend.
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Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, Minister for the East African Corporation addressed a concerned audience in Dar es Salaam recently, and noted in comparison that Kenya’s trade within the AGOA zone had drastically increased over a similar time period: it was 56 percent in 2000 and by 2005 it had leapt up to 83 percent; today it stands at over 95 percent.
Also present was Deputy Minister for Trade and Industries, Janet Mbene who said: "The time has come for deliberate awareness campaign to help Tanzanians build confidence and clear knowledge on utilisation of the markets under AGOA initiative. Kenyans are doing well because they add value to their products some of which come from Tanzania."
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The US has recently passed a Bill to support continued preferential free trade agreements through the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, but it remains to be seen how Tanzania will figure in the coming years.
In 2014, U.S. total trade with sub-Saharan Africa totalled $52.1 billion, a decrease of 18 percent compared to 2013; despite the size of its market, Africa accounts for only 1.6 percent of total U.S. exports to the world. Imports under AGOA in 2014 totalled $14.2 billion.
It is clear that the solution to Tanzania’s falling engagement with AGOA requires a two-pronged approach: trade ministers need to step up talks with their American counterparts, whilst Tanzanian business owners need a shift in behaviour to ensure that their products supply US demands.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”