The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade regime: Opportunities and challenges for Botswana
PublisherBotswana Society, http://www.botsoc.org.bw
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For a long time now, African countries have been demanding increased trade with the developed economies of the West as a means to promote economic development. 'Trade not aid,' has become the hallmark of this demand. Increased trade is to be realized through preferential access to developed economies markets, especially in manufactured goods. It is hoped that exports of manufactured goods would propel industrialization and help diversify economies away from traditional raw material exports. The USA has responded to Africa's demands through the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) that allows Africa access to the world's biggest and most lucrative market. This article examines the objectives of, and benefits under, AGOA with a view to analysing the opportunities it creates for Botswana's economic diversification into manufacturing, especially in the case of textiles and apparel industries; and the challenges it poses for Botswana. Analysis of the challenges help us to highlight not only Botswana's internal weaknesses and problems but also that of the AGOA provisions, as well as pose the question of who benefits, helping us unravel the US motives behind AGOA.