What is ACT?
The African Coalition for Trade, Inc. (ACT) is a non-profit, member-supported trade association dedicated to enhancing the opportunities for mutually beneficial trade between the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.
ACT's membership is widespread
ACT's membership consists of individual companies and chambers of commerce, trade associations and similar nonprofit organizations representing private sector interests in the following countries:
In addition, to express its support for ACT and its programs, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is an ex officio member of ACT.
ACT's members represent the broad spectrum of the private sector in Africa, although a majority of ACT's members come from the textile, clothing and agriculture sectors. Significantly, these are the sectors of the African economy most likely to be able to take advantage of the trade opportunities created by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). ACT serves as an umbrella group linking these African organizations and companies with each other and establishing ties with their counterparts in the United States private sector.
ACT speaks for its members
ACT serves as the principal spokesperson for its members from the private sector of Africa in the debate in Congress over enactment of AGOA and its amendments. In addition, ACT also represents its members before the Administration in the ongoing process of implementing AGOA and its amendments. As a consequence, ACT is widely recognized as one of the leading experts on AGOA and the opportunities for trade and investment it has created.
ACT provides information its website and via email
ACT also functions as a clearinghouse for up-to-date information on significant developments in the U.S. Congress and Administration that are likely to affect trade opportunities and investment in Africa. In that connection, ACT publishes the U.S.-Africa Trade Report every month for its members. Samples of past editions of the Trade Report are available on this website. The full text of the Trade Report is available to members either electronically through the members only Publications page.
ACT also provides its members with a weekly email update of recent developments affecting the implementation of AGOA and the status of new trade opportunities created by AGOA.
ACT sponsors Africa-related seminars and conferences
ACT has been especially active in informing its members in Africa, as well as the African public and private sectors generally, about the trade and investment opportunities created by AGOA. In May 2000, immediately after AGOA was enacted, ACT was proud to sponsor the first seminars on AGOA to be presented in Africa. This series of five seminars on AGOA were held in Mauritius, Madagascar, and South Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg). These seminars were extremely well-attended (e.g., over 400 business executives and government officials attended the seminar in Mauritius, which was opened and addressed by the Prime Minister) and were quite successful in disseminating information about AGOA to the African private and public sectors. ACT presented a series of follow-up seminars on AGOA in March 2001 in Botswana, Madagascar, and Mauritius.
IIn March 2004, ACT co-sponsored the Africa Textile and Apparel Conference and Expo in Johannesburg, which was attended by 250 delegates from across Africa and the United States. The Expo provided a trade show for African textile and apparel manufacturers to promote their products to buyers from the United States as well as to potential customers across Africa.
ACT President Paul Ryberg has served on the organizing committee of the Private Sector Session of each of the annual AGOA Forums held so far. In addition, the Prime Minister of Mauritius appointed Mr. Ryberg to the Executive Committee responsible for organizing the Private Sector Session of the second AGOA Forum, which was held in Mauritius in January 2003.
ACT works with the U.S. Government and U.S. private sector organizations
ACT was selected by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to be a major contributor to a series of four AGOA capacity building conferences USTR presented in Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, and Uganda in 2002.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also contracted with ACT in 2001, along with Cargill Technical Services, to conduct an in depth study of opportunities and constraints on expanded U.S.-Africa trade. This study focused on Ghana, Lesotho, Senegal, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. ACT presented a series of workshops in these countries in 2002 to present the results of the study.
In addition, ACT collaborated with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) in developing and presenting an AGOA capacity building executive change program, which was funded by the U.S. Department of State. Under the program groups of African business executives traveled to Washington, D.C. for intensive training on AGOA and doing business with the United States in general. The participants then traveled to other major cities to meet with potential business partners from the U.S. private sector.
Most recently, ACT co-sponsored a Trade Expo with CCA during their U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, November 14-16, 2007. For more information on the Summit, please visit www.africacncl.org.
HTML Hit Counter