Ambassador Kirk was in Axum, Ethiopia yesterday touring the Almeda Textile Factory. Almeda exports to the United States under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and has benefited from U.S. trade capacity building assistance. Almeda's workers produce yarn, fabric, and apparel, design apparel, and manufacture aprons for Starbucks and sportswear for Champro - among other U.S. customers.
Today, Ambassador Kirk toured the Peacock Shoe Factory in Addis Ababa - one of Ethiopia's largest shoe manufacturers. It employs 400 people fulltime and begins exporting this product to the US under AGOA this year.
After touring Peacock Shoe Factory, Ambassador Kirk met with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Ethiopia. Below is a picture of Ambassador Kirk and the President of AmCham Ethiopia, Ato Getachew Ayele.
He then held a media roundtable with Ethiopian reporters.
AGOA was enacted in May 2000 to expand U.S.-sub-Saharan African trade and investment, stimulate economic growth, promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, encourage economic integration, and facilitate sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy.
AGOA has helped increase U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, U.S. total imports from sub-Saharan Africa were more than triple the amount in 2001, and U.S. total exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled during this period.
After spending two days in Ethiopia, Ambassador Kirk is now traveling to Dakar, Senegal before returning to Washington, D.C.