Botswana AGOA textile exports decline by 11 percent in 2015. More so, total trade between the United States and countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) also decreased in 2015, which means trade has been declining for four years in a row, according to data published by the AGOA website.
Botswana is one of the beneficiaries of AGOA, but the country which relies heavily on diamond mining has failed to move from textiles into other product lines and produce other goods that are eligible for the U.S market. In 2015, the United States Congress extended the AGOA by another 10yearsÔÇöa move which meant goods from Botswana and the rest of eligible countries in Africa could be exported duty free to the US market.
Despite a report that 300,000 direct jobs in eligible countries have been created since the inception of AGOA, Botswana’s textile exports to the US have declined. Pundits have been quick to point out that the drop in exports is a result of stiff competition from China and high production costs. An economist who preferred anonymity revealed that, “the main challenge for Botswana is to diversify its exports to the United States and export other goods which are eligible for the market”.
However, he also said that the US president’s suspension of South Africa’s trade benefits starting March 15th could be helpful to Botswana. He said Botswana could gain if South Africa fails to comply with US demands to open its market for US poultry. This could mean that companies producing for the US market could come and set up in Botswana in order to benefit under AGOA.