New dawn for US exports
… as AGOA utilisation strategy is unveiled
By Hilary Mare
US Ambassador Lisa Johnson together with the Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu this week unveiled Namibia’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) utilisation strategy which seeks to increase Namibia’s exports to the United States of America.
The AGOA programme allows Namibia to export over 6 400 products tariff-free to the United States.
The AGOA strategy is collaboration between the Ministry of Industrialisation and other stakeholders, including the Namibian private sector, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The strategy provides a prioritised roadmap on how Namibia can increase its exports to the United States under AGOA duty-free market access and recommends steps to address the policy, supply, and market challenges faced by potential Namibian exporters. A body composed of private and public sector representatives will drive the implementation of the AGOA strategy.
The strategy identifies priority sectors and categorises them into short-term (e.g. beef and fish, semi-precious stones, grapes, dates, devil’s claw), medium-term (e.g. specialty foods/organic pearl millet products, handicrafts, leather products), and long-term (e.g. indigenous natural products) export potential.
Ambassador Johnson affirmed the United States’ commitment to help Namibia achieve the economic growth goals espoused in Namibia’s 5th National Development Plan, noting, “Exports, through the AGOA programme will provide entrepreneurs with a chance to revive firms which have suffered heavily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and recession, while also providing much-needed employment to help revitalise the economy.”
She went on to say that the U.S. government will continue to support Namibian firms with market entry and trade-enhancing services to meet the U.S. market entry requirements and increase exports from the priority sectors.
For example, USAID is assisting Namibian exporters in attaining organic certifications, food safety certifications, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration registration.
“USAID also is working with associations such as the Namibia Network in the Cosmetics Industry, Namibia Charcoal Association, Namibia Manufacturers Association, and Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to aid export-ready Namibian firms. USAID is helping Namibian companies participate in both in-person and virtual market linkage and business-to-business events to engage with potential buyers, showcase their products, and start business discussions.
These linkages have already led to export deals. USAID also is supporting Namibian businesses in exploring opportunities online in e-commerce and virtual trade shows for exports under AGOA,” noted Johnson.