The African Growth and Opportunity Act: Growth Without Opportunity?

When President Obama spoke to African leaders gathered in Ethiopia last year, he painted a new vision for U.S. engagement in Africa. “Now we have an opportunity to unleash the next era of African growth together. As we work to renew AGOA in 2015 and continue integrating Africa into the global economy, we also want to make sure that the benefits of Africa’s growth reach all parts of the society.”

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA — the U.S. trade preference program granting special duty-free access for 38 African nations — has helped fuel high levels of growth on the continent. But this economic growth has not translated into broad-based economic opportunity for a majority of African people. As the administration seeks renewal for AGOA in 2015, the trade accord must be updated to ensure that growth is creating high-quality employment.

This article was originally published in Huffington Post.