Ugandan companies using locally sourced materials are now ready for the United States (US) market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) market initiative, Presidential Advisor on AGOA and Trade Suzan Muhwezi, has said.
While touring AWAKA, Textile Development Agency (TEXDA) and Sseko designs factories that manufacture furniture, textiles and leather sandals respectively, Ms Muhwezi said AGOA is an initiative given to sub-Saharan African countries to export more than 8,500 products duty free and quota free hence accessing the huge US market.
She urged ministries responsible for production and private sector to produce products that are exportable targeting the already available markets.
“AGOA is an initiative for the private sector to take advantage of. AGOA response office does not export, but it assists the private sector and private companies by giving them information, cutting through bureaucracies for investors, sensitisation and marketing,” Ms Muhwezi said.
Brent Bountwell of Sseko Designs said the company exported 7,000 pairs of leather sandals in November 2013 and they are now in 320 outlets in the US. Other companies like Krotchet Kids, 31 Bits in Gulu, Wrap Up Africa and Uganda 2,000 are already exporting to the US market.
TEXDA Centre Manager Grace Kirabo, however, noted that their main challenge was the acquisition of cotton yarn that has to be imported from Kenya.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a legislation that was approved by the US Congress in May 2000. The purpose of this legislation was to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.