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The Obama administration has done very little to celebrate in Africa

28 October 2015
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The launch of the Power Africa initiative aimed at helping the continent double access to electricity.

On both programs the continent has been disappointed by President Obama’s scant focus to his father’s ancestral home, especially in comparison of former president Bush whose effort to fight HIV/AIDS has made him a hero in Africa. Or even Former President Carter who pushed to tackle a horrible NTD -- guinea worm bringing down the cases from one million in 1989 to about 25,000 in recent times.
The AGOA program which was conceived by President Bill Clinton fourteen years ago, partly as a means to spur growth of domestic industries in Africa, particularly in the textile sector, has not happened to a significant degree. Only modest gains in textile production has been noted in the years following implementation of Agoa in a few African countries, including Kenya.
As it is, textiles and clothing account for only two per cent of African exports to the US.
On power Africa, of the $7 billion that Obama set aside for the initiative, $5 billion fell under the auspices of the now-defunct Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans to foreign companies buying U.S.-made products. Just $132 million in transactions had been approved before the bank's charter expired last month, and now it cannot approve new ones. The Export-Import Bank was an important part of that effort. Yet on June 30, the bank lapsed for the first time in its 81-year history. So now, Power Africa depends on Congress reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.
President Obama faces the challenge of matching the Africa legacy of his White House predecessors. As of today his administration has nothing to show to Africa.
AGOA Summary
• A study by the Washington-based Centre for Global Development showed that sales of oil, minerals and South African manufactured goods dominate the US-Africa trade picture.
• The study also found that more than 90 per cent of Agoa-covered exports to the US come from half-a-dozen countries, most of which are oil-producer

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