Famous African foods like Ashanti hot sauce from Ghana, Mrs. Ball’s chutney from South Africa and Tusker beer from Kenya are finding their way into more American food markets, and at cheaper prices, thanks to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Since 2001, AGOA has allowed qualifying African countries to export thousands of goods and products to the United States duty-free. It has helped to diversify African exports, while attracting more foreign investment in African countries and encouraging fair labor standards.
Julie and Albert Ndjee have used AGOA to expand their U.S.-based business, Neilly’s Foods, into a great success. Their African seasonings and prepared foods like jollof rice and n’dolé can now be found all over the U.S. East Coast in major grocery-store chains like Whole Foods and Giant Food.
Along with reducing trade barriers and costs for specialty food ingredients like ginseng and bitter leaf, AGOA helps Africa’s exporters send the U.S. products ranging from glassware to leather items to wristwatches.
The trade deal has helped create an estimated 300,000 African jobs, many of which have gone to women. It has also boosted trade between the United States and Africa by 53 percent since 2003.
As of January 1, African exporters from 39 countries will be eligible to take advantage of AGOA. Is your country among them?