I have previously voiced my skepticism of the trade agreement AGOA, which is often celebrated in US – Africa circles as one of this country’s biggest achievements in Africa. This self-praise continued on April 25, as a range of public and private sector luminaries gathered (I was not among them) for an event in the Library of Congress on “Looking back at AGOA’s history to inform its future.”
An e-mail from Representative Karen Bass on the event lauds “our nation’s lead trade arrangement with African nations, [which has] helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs develop and strengthen new business sectors and lift million out of poverty.” As a student in Namibia, I can recall touring a Korean owned apparel factory that had recently opened as a result of AGOA. I mostly recall seeing a lot of not very happy looking women and a very cold building.
The Ambassador of Mauritius, the head of the Wilson Center’s Africa Program, the President of the Corporate Council on Africa, and the President of the Whitaker Group were featured speakers.
A Flickr photo album of the event is available here.