The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The law offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. Participation in AGOA requires that beneficiary countries commit themselves to the establishment of a market-based economy, the rule of law and policies to reduce poverty.

The First U.S.-Sub-Saharan African Trade & Economic Cooperation Forum 

"No nation in our time has entered the fast track of development without first opening up its economy to world markets.  The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a road map for how the United States and Africa can tap the power of markets to improve the lives of our citizens."

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Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Established on May 28, 1975 via the treaty of Lagos, ECOWAS is a 15-member regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration in all fields of activity of the constituting countries.


Member countries making up ECOWAS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d' Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.  Considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community, ECOWAS was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states.  As a trading union, it is also meant to create a single, large trading bloc through economic cooperation.




The advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent.  On 9.9.1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, interalia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalisation.


The main objectives of the OAU were, iner alia, to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of coloniztion and aparthied; to promote unity and solidarity among African States; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and to promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.