At AEPAC, we have become highly concerned that the United States is planning to remove Ethiopia from The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Act provides the people of Ethiopia a lifeline at a time of extreme hardship for the country. It funds business development and is estimated to directly contribute to around 300,000 Ethiopian jobs. In turn, these jobs support some of the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia, including women and children who rely on them for their families’ livelihoods.
This is at a time when the TPLF group have been found to be forcing children to act as soldiers, and massacring and raping civilians in and around the Tigray region in response to their ousting from power. Under Prime Minister Abiy’s current administration, Ethiopia is now considered freer than many of the other AGOA eligible countries by Freedom House’s World Freedom Index and it would be a grave error for the United States to step back at this point.
Removal of Ethiopia from the Act would jeopardize the country’s economic and social prosperity, deprive the US of access to high-quality goods, and seriously damage US-Ethiopian relations at a time when we need to be strengthening such a vital bond.
As many of the manufacturers are US companies in Ethiopia, suspension of Ethiopia from AGOA eligibility will also seriously jeopardize American investments in Ethiopia.
That is why we urge you to take action now and contact your congressional representative. We have provided a quick and easy way for you to do this. Simply click the button in this email to fill in a form that will automatically find your representative and send them a letter highlighting your concern about the issue.
Mesfin Tegenu, AEPAC Chairman