Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), ranking member of the House Africa Subcommittee, has applauded the signing of the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) Modernization Act into law. Rep. Bass played an integral role in its passage in the House of Representatives in January.
The bill, introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39), included Rep. Bass’s MCORE Act of 2015, which enables eligible countries with Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts to simultaneously enter one additional compact if the country is making considerable and demonstrable progress in implementing the terms of the existing Compact. For example, a resource-poor landlocked country in sub-Saharan Africa could be rewarded an additional compact to enhance already successful efforts of investment designed to increase economic growth and reduce poverty. Additional compacts would promote and develop a stronger economic relationship between countries of sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.
The new law will also improve AGOA by making information about AGOA more accessible and by encouraging embassies in chosen countries promote export opportunities to the United States.
“The African Growth & Opportunity Act and the Millennium Challenge Corporation have proven track records of spurring economic development,” Bass said. “I am pleased that this important piece of legislation, one that will advance our position as international leaders, strengthen our domestic job market and economy, and protect our national security interests, was signed into law. It is in our economic and political interest to expand our economic relationships with the nations of Africa and this legislation strengthens these key laws in that effort.”
For well over a decade, AGOA has served as the key foundation to U.S. – Africa trade and investment. The AGOA Enhancement Act hopes to build on and improve this successful law. Rep. Bass has devoted a large portion of her time in Congress to pushing for the extension of AGOA. Working hand-in-hand with Democratic and Republican members of Congress, business and labor officials as well as the AGOA ambassadors and members of the African diaspora and civil society to push for the reauthorization of AGOA, earning its passage in June of 2015.