The Blue Economy a key opportunity for development of US Africa Trade
Speaking at the Ministerial meeting on trade between Africa and the United States of America (USA) in the context of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) being held ahead of the US Africa Summit in Washington, USA, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam has emphasised the opportunities that the Blue Economy can offer to the expansion of the US-Africa trade partnership.
The meeting was jointly opened by US Secretary Of State John Kerry and World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim and was also addressed by Deputy Chairman of the African Union, Erastus Mwencha and President of the African Development Bank as well as African ministers.
“As we look to extend AGOA for the mutual benefit of Africa and the US, Seychelles feels we can add a lot more to this partnership if we look at the Blue Economy concept. We need to include more fisheries products under AGOA, and we have the opportunity to develop a framework for sustainable fisheries exports from African countries. Seychelles has warmly welcomed the US initiative of organising the recent Oceans Summit, and this can create a platform for new exports that focus on sustainability of resources,” the Minister remarked.
In addition, the Seychelles delegation emphasised the importance of AGOA recognising the particular specificities of trade for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“We are in the UN year of Small Island Developing States, and we hope that as we review AGOA we can address the issue of the narrow resource base of SIDS. We are not able to develop a large number of products- it is important that in the few areas where we do have a comparative advantage that we can address means to harness the full potential of those few products, such as fisheries. The eight African Island states do not benefit on the same way from shared infrastructure of regional integration. We are isolated from key markets, but through the right market access facilitation, and with a focus on sustainability, we believe the US can be a key partner in trade with Africa’s islands.”, the Minister added.
The AGOA forum is one of the key ministerial preparatory meetings for the first US Africa Summit which is to take place in Washington.
Minister Adam was accompanied at the meeting by the Principal Secretary for Trade and Investment, Dr. Steve Fanny.