The East African Community(EAC) Secretary General has asked the US government to consider extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Dr. Richard Sezibera was addressing a Congressional Delegation from the United States of America in Arusha Tanzania.
Leading the delegation was the Republican Senator for Oklahoma; James Inhofe; accompanied by thirteen other delegates among them; Senator Mike Rounds (South Dakota), Republican Joe Barton (Texas), Republican Vernon Buchanan (Florida), Republican Ann Kirkpatrick (Arizona), and Republican Tim Walberg (Miami).
The Secretary General was accompanied by his Deputy in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Dr. Enos Bukuku and other EAC officials.
The purpose of their visit was to gain insight on major developments realized as well as challenges experienced within the support priority areas of the United States Government (USG) to EAC. The USG support to the EAC cuts across sectors of Trade and Investment, Agriculture, Energy, Environment, Health and Institutional Strengthening Support.
He noted that AGOA, one of the defining characteristics of the trade and commercial relationship between USA and Africa, will expire in September 30 this year.
He added that a bilateral binding trade agreement should be established between the US Government and the EAC.
The USG assistance is being achieved through the Assistance Agreement for Comprehensive Development (AA-RCD) to increase Regional Economic Growth and Integration in the EAC region. This corresponds with the EAC mission. The Support from the USG to EAC is about $18,000,000 per annum.
Trade, Investment and Agriculture being their main areas of concern, the Congressional Delegation also asked the EAC to address the lack of direct flights to market its exports to meet USA demands.