On Monday, July 14, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings (AGI) and the Congressional African Staff Association (CASA) hosted a briefing for congressional staffers on ways that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) could better support regional integration and trade capacity building. Panelists included Angela Ellard, chief trade counsel (majority) and trade subcommittee staff director for the House Committee on Ways and Means; Moono Mupotola, division manager for regional integration and trade at the African Development Bank; Thomas J. Herlehy, practice area manager for crops at Land O’Lakes; and Witney Schneidman, AGI nonresident fellow and senior advisor for Africa at Covington and Burling, LLP. Nilmini Rubin, senior advisor for global competitiveness for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, moderated the discussion.
This event is part of the Africa Policy Dialogue on the Hill, a regular congressional briefing series hosted by AGI and CASA on topical issues relevant to Africa’s growth and security.
Throughout the discussion, panelists focused on ways to achieve a more effective AGOA before its expiration in September 2015. Panelists emphasized that policymakers should be making regional integration as well as trade capacity building top priorities while drafting the new legislation.
I think the trade hubs need to work more with existing African private sector organizations, whether they’re Chambers of Commerce, trade and business associations, the ministries in these countries, to raise awareness of and build the capacity of farmers and buyers within African about AGOA.” – Thomas Herlehy
I want to emphasize that if we look at the trade in the intermediate goods—it’s at the cornerstone of value chains. This could be a new area that we might also encourage countries to develop, focusing on particular products.” – Moono Mupotola