Trump’s administration unlikely to give African exports priority, say experts

Republican president-elect Donald Trump. PHOTO | FILE
Republican president-elect Donald Trump. PHOTO | FILE 

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives a range of exports from Sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya duty-free access to the US, is unlikely to be a top priority for the incoming US administration given its negligible impact on US jobs.

Mark Bohlund, Bloomberg Intelligence Africa, Mid-East economist, said the policy of the US administration under President-elect Donald Trump toward Africa remains unclear and is likely to create uncertainty.

“Oil accounts for the majority of shipments under AGOA, which has suffered from increased US shale oil production. In addition, the $4 billion in non-oil shipments to the US under the programme equals less than one per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total exports,” said Mr Bohlund.

He added that expected US tariffs against China may hurt Beijing demand for African exports.

“Sub-Saharan exports to the US have traditionally been dominated by oil and minerals with a higher share of agricultural and manufactured goods going to the EU,” he said.

“In addition, China and India have both emerged as more important export destination than the US in recent years.

As such, if the US imposes tariffs on imports from China that could have a bigger impact, through reduced demand for African commodities, than any loss of preferential access to the US market for African countries.”

Africa exports more to China and India but imports much more.