A one-day validation workshop on the national African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) response strategy for Sierra Leone was held at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex on Thursday 6th September 2018 facilitated by the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). It could be recalled that the development of the national AGOA response strategy was launched on the 24th of October 2017 in Freetown with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) which was followed by nationwide consultative meetings in Bo, Makeni and Kenema respectively.
AGOA was enacted by the United States of America (USA) Government in 2000 which has been renewed to 2025 to enhance free market access to the United States by qualifying Sub-Saharan Africa countries.
The Chief Executive Officer of SLIEPA Sheku Lexmond Koroma in his remarks expressed thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the management and staff of SLIEPA and the International Growth Centre (IGC) the Consultant responsible for developing the strategy for their contribution to the development of the project. ‘we can overcome the impediments to ensure Sierra Leone benefits from AGOA with determination’ stated Mr Koroma in his address to participants at the workshop.
Mr David Luke representative of UNECA was delighted to be part of the programme and expressed hope that Sierra Leone will benefit from the programme within the remaining life span of AGOA as developed countries are now focussing on trade with African countries as opposed to aid. He encouraged African countries to use trade as an engine of development and as a means of alleviating their citizenry out of poverty.
The Chief Director of Trade in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Mr Charles Mereweather- Thompson who represented the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry in his statement committed his Ministry’s support and continued policy direction to enable the country achieve its goal in AGOA.
Mr Shiaka Kawa, Director of Export Development SLIEPA chaired the programme and appealed to all the participants to careful look at the document as national document and make meaningful contributions and recommendations to ensure the final document reflects a national character and will serve as a blue print to stand the test of times.