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Sierra Leone Business: Salone to launch its AGOA Response Strategy

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an initiative of the United States Government, allows low-income countries to access the US market on very favourable trade terms. The implementation of the new AGOA Strategy will allow Sierra Leone to benefit from duty free access to US markets when exporting products produced in the country. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in collaboration with the International Growth Centre (IGC) will tomorrow Tuesday 12 February, 2019 launch the National AGOA Response Strategy at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Aberdeen. The Strategy launch is expected to be done by Peter B. Konteh, Minister of Trade and Industry and will be followed by a Forum on New Directions for Trade and Private Sector Expansion in Sierra Leone. After the strategy launch, a panel of policymakers and private sector representatives will discuss the findings of some of the studies that influenced the design of the strategy. The IGC aims for these studies, among others, to inform a new direction in the development of the private sector in Sierra Leone. Although the initiative has been in place for almost 20 years, Sierra Leone had not made use of the opportunity. The Government recently requested support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to develop a strategy for accessing the US market through AGOA. The IGC, in collaboration with MTI and the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), undertook extensive consultations and research over the past year to help develop the AGOA Strategy. Herbert M’cleod, IGC Sierra Leone Country Director said that they hope that the forum will be an opportunity for frank discussions on challenges and opportunities facing trade and the development of the private sector, as well as its impact on future growth and sustainable development. Furthermore, given the intention of the government to promote trade and private sector development with a view to diversifying the economy, the discussions and recommendations from the event should contribute towards the development of the national trade strategy and will set the foundations for Government’s reform efforts. According to the IGC, the research on the private sector ranges from details of cross-border trade with neighbouring countries, employment of graduates in the formal sector, supply-side constraints to expansion of manufacturing, and most importantly, the underlying factors restraining growth and expansion of the private sector and the economy. The results of the studies point to changes needed for the private sector to play the role expected in the development of the state including creating jobs and generally enhancing the transformation of the economy. A summary of the findings and recommendations of the studies will be presented at the forum.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday February 11, 2019.

 

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