The Ministry of Trade and Industry launched an African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Utilization Strategy for Lesotho in Maseru, January 22, 2020. The strategy, developed with support from the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, is designed to increase trade and investment, support economic development, and diversify sources of growth for Lesotho. Effective use of the strategy will position more Lesotho businesses for duty-free access to the U.S. market, creating more job opportunities in the country.
“As part of the Prosper Africa initiative, we are super-charging connections between the U.S. and African private sectors to expand markets for goods and services and also working through technical assistance programs that help nations implement sound trade and investment policies like the plan we are launching today,” stated the U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho Rebecca Gonzales. She further noted that “To succeed, the specific recommendations of the strategy need the ongoing support of all of you — government representatives, private-sector leaders, and business owners.”
AGOA is the United States’ cornerstone trade initiative with sub-Saharan Africa and a strong symbol of U.S. partnership with the region. Since 2001, Lesotho’s apparel industry has harnessed AGOA benefits successfully and strategically and accounts for more than one-fifth of all AGOA apparel exports to the United States. With AGOA’s support, the apparel industry generates about a third of Lesotho’s gross domestic product.
The AGOA Utilization Strategy for Lesotho will prioritize key sectors and products for potential trade expansion to the United States, including textiles, apparel, and footwear; handicrafts; organic products; and leather and leather accessories.
AGOA is slated to remain in effect until September 30, 2025. The Act offers duty-free access to the United States for over 1,800 product lines, in addition to the over 5,000 products eligible under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.