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ABSTRACT


The study examines the African Growth and Opportunity Act and African underdevelopment, a critical
analysis of major contradictions. The thrust of the research work is to find out if AGOA has spurred the
level of investment needed to expand economic activity in the rural agricultural sector. The research work
also seeks to examine if AGOA has promoted export diversification with particular reference to clothing and
textile industry and the degree the US trade with SSA countries had gone in reducing poverty in the SSA
countries, since the AGOA’s drafter’s objectives was for AGOA to serve as a catalyst for African economic
development. Utilizing dependency theoretical frame work of analysis, which focus on the socio-economic
dynamics of metropolitan and peripheral countries and proponents of the theory argues that the trade
relations between the United states and countries in sub-Saharan African is skewed in favor of the former
because the developing countries such as sub – Saharan African countries are still dependent on the western
imperial western capitalist country though in a subtle way than was in the era of the outright domination of
the former. As much as we deemed this theory fit for analyzing the trade relations between the United States
and African countries, we did not subscribe to the idea of delinking as a viable option for the economic
development of the former because in the world of complex interdependency, delinking is never a viable
option for the countries of the SSA and delinking contradicts with the principle of globalism and will
amount to autarky. Owing to that, we finished our analysis with the complex inter dependency explanatory
tool of analysis which recognizes the possibility of imperialism and unequal rewards in trade and
globalization. The study contends that AGOA has not spurred the level of investment needed to expand
economic activity in the rural agricultural sector, and that AGOA has not promoted export diversification in
the area of clothing and textile industry and that the United States trade relations with sub – Saharan African
countries have not led to poverty reduction in the later. Relaying on the secondary source and descriptive
analysis for the purpose of data collection and analysis, the study therefore, probe beneath the orbit and
bringing to fore, the provisions of the legislation that led to AGOA and the legal framework that resulted and
the ensuing economic consequences this portends for African countries. The study contends that AGOA has
not achieved its drafter’s original objectives in bringing about economic development in sub-Saharan
African due to a number of factors such as: the constraints imposed by the legislative process, dependence
on one – dimensional strategy of tariff reduction and the inherent limitation of “Special and Differential
Trade Treatment”. The Study also revealed that AGOA restrictive rules of origin for textile and apparel
imports, constrained the growth and development of African’s apparel industry. Complex rules of origin
create the potential for hidden protectionism because they accompany legitimate trade policy instrument –
preferential trading arrangement. Again, it was revealed in the study that the trade relations between the
United States and countries in the AGOA have not significantly impacted on the production and export of
agricultural products to the production and export of agricultural products to the United States and this is
where majority of African countries rely for survival instead the SSA export to the United States is
dominated by energy-related products such as petroleum and this sector also account for the United states
investment in the region. The study revealed that the introduction of AGOA brought about an increase in the
volume of trades between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. An increase in African countries’
exports to United States was observed following AGOA’s initial passage. However, the increase in trade
was not experienced at the same level in all SSA countries and did not affect all goods equally. Trade
statistic shows that countries that experienced substantial growth in trade includes Nigeria, Angola, South
Africa, and Chad which are oil producing states apart from South Africa. Majority of African countries
depend whole lot on Agricultural export but, AGOA as our research work revealed had not significantly
impacted on the production and export of agricultural products to the United States market, where these
African countries have comparative advantage and thus AGOA has not reduced the poverty in the SSA
countries. Again by US investing and facilitating the export of agricultural product, their national interest
will not be enhanced, that explains the reason why the trade relations between the US and SSA countries
under AGOA have not significantly impacted on the production and export of agricultural products from
SSA countries nor has AGOA brought about a reduction of poverty in SSA. The study contends that though
globalization and interdependence are inevitable imperatives of the contemporary global political economy,
developing countries such as SSA countries should not always expect bilateral or unilateral trade relations
with the advanced capitalist states to be a panacea to the economic dilemma confronting them as this does
not squared up with the truth most of the times and countries in SSA region should be able to define their
own development agenda and not relying on the western capitalist states or institutions to define or spell out
economic measures for them because times and experience have shown that most of the western capitalist
states have expired in paradigm and must not be seen as bench mark for economic development.

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