22 Oct SA and US go into Agoa summit amid tensions over foreign policy, wars in Europe and Middle East
SA and US go into AGOA summit amid tensions over foreign policy, wars in Europe and Middle East
OPINION: The Agoa summit could not have come at a more awkward time for South Africa and the US. It will come amid the Palestinian-Israeli war that has divided global opinion. South Africa and the US are on opposing sides once again, writes Dr Sizo Nkala.
SOUTH Africa will host the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) summit next month (Ne, as confirmed by the US last month. There had been talks of moving the summit to another country after South Africa and the US had a geopolitical fallout around the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
A bipartisan group of influential US senators asked US President Joe Biden to consider moving the summit to another country, following allegations by the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, that South Africa may have exported weapons to Russia when a Russian vessel docked in Simon’s Town in December last year.
The South African government has denied the allegations and appointed a commission of enquiry to investigate the matter. President Cyril Ramaphosa promptly deployed a delegation to the US, led by the national security advisor, Sydney Mufamadi, to try to lobby the Biden administration not to pull South Africa out of Agoa in reaction to its stance on the Russia-Ukraine debacle.
South Africa exports goods worth almost $3 billion (R57bn) to the US under the Agoa arrangement that offers the participating countries duty-free access to the US market. As such, it is not surprising that Ramaphosa was fretting over the possibility of losing the significant benefits accruing from the scheme.
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