After ten years of exclusion, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has just been re-registered on the list of countries that will be able to benefit from the trade preferences offered by AGOA, the American law on Growth and Development Opportunities. in Africa. This decision was taken by Donald Trump, at a time when, moreover, the United States is emerging as one of President Tshisekedi’s strategic partners.
Indeed, on May 19, 2020, according to our sources, Constance Hamilton, deputy representative of the United States for foreign trade for Africa, had officially entered by correspondence the Congolese government to discuss the conditions for the reintegration of the DRC into the program. AGOA. To this end, President Tshisekedi had, according to the information in our possession, instructed his government to spare no effort to have the country reintegrated into the AGOA program as soon as possible.
In view of the various signals launched within the framework of reforms and governance by President Tshisekedi with the establishment of an agency to fight corruption, the Congolese government highlighted the advances dating from the Tshisekedi era in different sectors of democratic vitality, namely: the release of political prisoners, the return of personalities in exile… All these measures have contributed to the positive examination of the dossier of the reintegration of the DRC within the AGOA.
On the announcement of this news by the United States Department of Commerce via the US Ambassador to the DRC, the President of the DRC Félix Tshisekedi welcomed this decision and the US Ambassador to the DRC praised the efforts of Félix Tshisekedi who could “open up important economic opportunities”.
For his part, a former official minimizes. He assures that the DRC of Joseph Kabila had protested against his exclusion, because it looked “badly”, but that the country had lost nothing. “This is not about mineral resources, we were exporting nothing to the United States except a little coffee,” he explains, convinced that this is a purely political announcement. According to him, it could also be about President Trump’s desire to impose this restoration on the next US administration and perpetuate the status of the new Congolese head of state as a privileged partner.
For the DRC’s foreign trade minister and main negotiator, the DRC’s exclusion from AGOA for 10 years had truly penalized the country. Jean-Lucien Bussa mentions more than 623 million dollars of exports to the United States, mainly agricultural products, in 2011 against only 21 million in 2019. Indeed, this reintegration will benefit local and foreign economic operators . And at the same time, allow the DRC’s economic sector to change its export structure to the United States.