The Chief Executive Officer and founder of Poise Capital Global, Comfort Sakoma, has labelled collaboration and strategic alliance as key factors that can propel the non-oil exports of Nigeria. She mentioned that these factors were necessary if potential exporters were to overcome the little issues, such as branding and packaging of commodities, that are currently hindering them from being viable exports. This was the thrust of her speech at the one-day workshop on the documentation and procedures of AGOA.
She lamented that Nigeria, at present, had no exports in porous materials such as textiles, footwear and minerals, to the United States, thus resulting in under-utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Citing the example of Ethiopia, Sakoma said that Ethiopia faced the same problems, but die to adequate collaboration, they overcame these problems and were able to achieve $30 million footwear sales to the U.S under the AGOA last year alone.
Speaking at the same workshop, the South-West Regional Coordinator of the National Export Promotion Council (NEPC), wondered why majority of manufacturers were still ignorant of the AGOA, which was recently extended to 2025 by the U.S government. Also pointing to packaging issues as a possible hindrance to potential exporters, he mentioned that the Council does as much as it can to ensure that non-oil exporters are able to meet the required international standards.
The AGOA is a legislation that was passed by Clinton in May 2000, with the purpose of helping the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region. After completing its initial 15-year period of validity, the AGOA legislation was extended on 29 June 2015 by a further 10 years, to 2025.
Unfortunately, although Nigeria is one of the major beneficiaries of the AGOA, her participation has mainly been in the energy sector. In contrast, South Africa has the most diverse participation in the AGOA. Coupled with the drive to diversify the Nigerian economy, exploiting the AGOA may provide opportunities for non-oil manufacturers to easily export their goods to the U.S. and further expand Nigeria’s share in the current $4.8 billion non-oil exports under the AGOA.
More information can be found in the Guardian Newspapers