Cooperating, not competing, in Africa: a case for Transatlantic rapprochement

 

Original Content Provided by: Frank Samolis
Modified for the Purposes of this Site by: Lina Abisoghomyan
 
  Source: Somaliland Sun

Source: Somaliland Sun

 

The Players

African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA)-  is a free trade agreement incentivizing economic growth and open markets, including six African nations. Signed into law in May of 2000, it has been a huge step for US-African trade relations. The largest critique currently being made was that it did not actually facilitate the African products being circulated in global supply chains, and instead provided free and unlimited market access for pseudo-imperialist gains. 

US- A key partner in international markets, Barack Obama held the first ever US- Africa Leaders Summit in 2014 that expressed a strong interest in pivoting towards a strong trade agreement. Congress has the power to set out eligibility requirements that the African countries must adhere to.

EU- Another party that is interested in trade and investment in Africa, the EU uses EPA's, Economic Partnership Agreements, which vary based on the capacity of each country. It prefers to negotiate with each country individually, with deals that vary case to case. 

  Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

The Background

A trade agreement with blossoming, resource-rich Africa is a key to Western nations with a high capacity for expansion and always looking for new partners. AGOA was an attempt to do just that, but the fact that it was so dragged out gave critics the ammunition they needed to to show why the deal was not mutually beneficial. 

 
  Source: Pintrest

Source: Pintrest

 

The Story

In analyzing what strategy would bring the greatest gains to both parties, that is, the African nations would be better off trading on the outside market in a way that is mutualistic and not zero-sum The US and the EU coming together to help create that united front was pushed forward by President Barack Obama during the 2014 US-Africa Leaders Summit, and AGOA is the form in which these efforts will continue.