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The most important of this week’s headlines out of and concerning Africa, for those who need help catching up.
AGOA lives on, Buhari prepares for U.S. visit
In the week that just passed, we look at two key stories making headline news about Africa. Both the U.S. House and Senate reauthorized AGOA, or the African Growth Opportunity Act, and sent the legislation to President Obama for his signature. Also, we received news that Nigeria’s new President; Mohammadu Buhari is planning a visit to the United States in July.
1. The African Growth and Opportunity Act or AGOA was reauthorized after final passage by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by President Obama. But it took significant debate and pressure from all over for this to be made possible, according to the news reports that we have seen.
The legislation which offers preferential treatment to imports and other goods entering the U.S. from selected African countries would have expired in September if not reauthorized.
According to Drew Hinshaw with The Wall Street Journal, “the measure is also designed to help another set of factory workers hard-hit by Asia’s rise: Africans.”
“In AGOA: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?” Whitney Schneidman of the Brookings Institution stated, just before passage of the bill, that “There is no rationale for AGOA to be held hostage to this political maneuvering.”
Tradewinds, the official blog of the United States Trade Representative, gives us a glimpse of what some members of Congress, members of the Obama administration and other officials, are saying about the passage of the law.
2. Former Nigerian strongman, Muhammadu Buhari is barely a few weeks old in the office he reassumed, and he is already making plans to visit the U.S. capital. We found this news via Africa in Transition, a U.S. Council on Foreign Relations blog run by John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.
Already there is plenty of reaction to the news, especially from people in the U.S. media. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post writes, while citing other sources, that the decision to invite Buhari to D.C. may be because of pressure on the administration for choosing to go to Ethiopia, a lesser democracy, and not to a more democratic country such as Nigeria.
Eilperin writes, “The announcement comes as Obama has come under sharp criticism for his decision to visit Ethiopia, a nation whose ruling party has engaged in a series of human rights abuses and oversaw questionable elections last month, rather than a more democratic African country.”