PRESIDENT'S PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY AND AFRICAN GROWTH ANDOPPORTUNITY ACT
President Clinton called for expeditious passage of the African Growth and OpportunityAct (Act) during the State of the Union Address. The Act complements the President'sPartnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa. The goals of the Partnershipand Act are to help African countries reform their economies, spur economic growth, moveaway from dependence on foreign assistance, and establish new business ties with U.S.companies.
All 42 African countries eligible for the U.S. Generalized System of Preference Program(GSP) can participate in the Partnership's basic program (Level 1). (Eritrea is inthe GSP application process; Nigeria, Gabon, Sudan, Mauritania and Liberia are not yet GSPeligible.) Enhanced programs (Level 2) provide additional economic incentives to countriesthat have outstanding economic reform records.
Level 1 programs include: a) renewal of the GSP law which provides greater marketaccess to Least Developed Countries including 29 African countries; b) establishment oftwo large investment funds ($150 million and $500 million) that are guaranteed by theOverseas Private Investment Corporation; c) greater attention to African trade andinvestment issues through appointment of an Assistant United States Trade Representativefor Africa and a senior advisor for African programs at the Export Import Bank; and d)USAID programs to strengthen U.S. and African business organizations and assist regionaleconomic integration in Southern Africa.
Level 2 programs include: a) annual Cabinet-level Economic Cooperation Forums; b)future extinction of concessional bilateral debt for the poorest Level 2 countries; c)USAID programs for technical assistance, economic policy reform, and agricultural marketliberalization; and d) duty-free, quota-free entry under the GSP program of textile andother sensitive products currently excluded from the program.
Under the Act and Partnership, Free Trade Agreements (FTA) may be considered forcountries with open market economies.