As the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum opens in Lusaka, Zambia, LALIT member Rajni Lallah spoke out against the conditionalities attached to the opening of the US market for African goods and services under the AGOA law voted by the US Congress in the year 2000 on BBC World Service News yesterday morning.
AGOA conditionalities include subservience to US “national security” and “foreign policy”, and elimination of price control, subsidies, selling off public wealth through privatisation. AGOA's primary aim was two-fold: to open up a potential market of 800 million African consumers to US companies as well as opening up opportunities for US multinationals to control economic resources and assets in Africa such as oil and minerals, and secondly, to ensure that African States stay in line with US national security and foreign policy. AGOA gives the US President king-size powers to pick out which African countries are “eligible” for entry into the US market and which not.
In many African countries, certain sections of capitalist classes actively lobbied for AGOA to pass Congress even though it meant recolonisation by the US.
When the AGOA Forum was held in Mauritius in 2003, LALIT initiated international action to protest against AGOA conditionalities through a “People's Forum” and a demonstration in which representatives of working peoples' organisations in the Southern African region participated (see our News archives for more information).
For in-depth analysis of AGOA, you can search for two documents by clicking in our document section. The first documents by LALIT members Lindsey Collen and Ram Seegobin is called “Bait for bosses, Government bites, hook for the people - AGOA: The Sting”. The second document by LALIT member Rajni Lallah is entitled “Welcomed by the bourgeoisie in South Africa and Mauritius -
AGOA – an instrument of the US ruling class”
You can hear Rajni Lallah's interview on BBC World Service Breakfast News in the audio section.