Statement on House and Senate Voting on Final Passage of AGOA
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Africa Subcommittee, issued the following statement after the House voted final passage of the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA):
“After years of tireless work and effective advocacy, our work in Congress to reauthorize the African Growth and Opportunity Act is now complete. I am proud that both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize AGOA, sending the legislation to the President and guaranteeing a seamless and long-term extension of this vitally important law.
“Today’s vote was a direct result of the bipartisan work and commitment from both Houses of Congress, the African Diplomatic Corps, African heads of state, members of African governments, the Obama Administration and countless individuals from the African Diaspora and African civil society who spoke and worked for an African continent that is a partner to the United States. I have spoken with you during our policy breakfasts, met with you both here in the United States and in Africa, and read your op-eds and letters. Every one of these actions was an essential part in guaranteeing the flood of support that carried AGOA to final Congressional passage.
“I look forward not just to President Obama signing this legislation, but also continuing to work with you as we look beyond AGOA’s reauthorization. Today’s vote marks a new chapter and American leaders must be as focused as ever on this vitally important part of the world. From 2000 to 2010, six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in sub-Saharan African countries. And this growth has helped to grow Africa’s middle class, which has tripled in size over the last 30 years--numbering 313 million people, greater than 34 percent of the population of the whole continent.
“Over the next 10 years, Africa will become an even more important part of the world economy with a large, youthful population that is increasingly university-educated, tech-savvy and entrepreneurial. Without question, it is in the interest of the United States and the countries of Africa--the world’s new economic frontier--that we work toward a stronger and mutually beneficial economic relationship that will stand the test of time. AGOA has been called ‘the cornerstone’ of the U.S.-Africa economic relationship, and on this stone we will build an even more lasting and stronger commitment between the United States and the nations of Africa.”