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AGOA has not addressed structural issues

Neelam Rahim |

2-minute read
08 November 2023 | 20:48 CAT


The complexities of global trade, specifically the 20th Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum or AGOA Forum, where the US and 35 Sub-Saharan African countries convened. The Forum aims to bolster trade and investment through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

However, several issues have come to light amidst global conflicts and evolving trade dynamics.

Radio Islam International explores some of these challenges with Ashraf Patel, a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Global Dialogue.

Unpacking the big issues that are constraining African development pathways, Patel explained, “Contradictory human rights. Trade and investment are not politically neutral and developing nations face the volatility of global geopolitics that has seen further instabilities. The increasing use of human rights in trade becomes ever more contradictory and untenable, fuelling cynicism by the Global South.”

“Chicken is the number one protein of consumption in South Africa, and once had a vibrant industry, yet we also tried imports from nine countries: Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, the US, Poland and the UK. Local organisations such as the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) and the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) are against poultry dumping because of its negative impact on the economy and the growth of the broiler industry in the country. Dumping is blamed for an economic decline and job losses in the industry,” Patel pointed out.

Meanwhile, exploitation has a huge push.

“Programmes such as AGOA are rooted in realpolitik and have not addressed the underlying structural issues of uneven development – fair trade at WTO, the major debt crisis, while trade, IP and investment is lopsided in favour of the US and EU nations. Alternative pathways are required if sub-Saharan Africa is to ever gain some form of industrialisation and policy sovereignty,” Patel stated.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Annisa Essack.


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