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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 19, 2005
2005 African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum
Video Remarks by the President
July 18, 2005
On behalf of America, I send greetings to the people of all the African nations represented at the AGOA Forum. I am grateful to all of you who have traveled far to discuss our shared vision for an Africa that is home to democracy, prosperity, and opportunity.
This is a hopeful moment in the history of Africa. The governments of many African nations are being transformed. Many African economies are vibrant and growing. In Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, economic growth is now at its highest level in eight years.
An important part of Africa's rising prosperity is the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. This wise legislation is reducing barriers to trade, increasing exports, creating jobs, and expanding opportunity for Africans and Americans alike.
AGOA is getting results. Political reforms in Africa have inspired confidence among American investors. Last year, U.S. exports to Sub-Saharan Africa increased 25 percent - and America's imports from AGOA countries rose 88 percent. The success of AGOA is proving that open trade and international investment are the surest and fastest ways for Africa to make progress. So last year, I was proud to sign a law extending the benefits of this vital program.
Over the next several days, you will discuss further ways to expand and diversify trade, so we can sustain economic growth. I am confident that your efforts will lead to greater interest and investment in AGOA nations. You will also be offered practical information about meeting U.S. export requirements and entering U.S. markets. As part of America's long-term commitment to increased trade with Africa, I intend to launch the African Global Competitiveness Initiative, which will give a record number of entrepreneurs access to the information and advice they need to succeed in business and foreign trade.
I appreciate the good work you are doing, and I look forward to our continued partnership on AGOA. Africa is a continent of promise and talent, and opportunity - and together we will help the people of Africa realize the bright future they deserve.
Thank you very much.