The emphasis on trade not aid

Senior Presidential Advisor on AGOA and Trade Susan K. Muhwezi admires some of the Mend products with Social Enterprise Director Jared White, and Social Enterprise Manager Alyx Jones at Mend.

Senior Presidential Advisor on AGOA and Trade Susan K. Muhwezi admires some of the Mend products with Social Enterprise Director Jared White, and Social Enterprise Manager Alyx Jones at Mend.

“We don’t want [the U.S.] to bring us aid. We want to produce, and they buy,” the Senior Presidential Advisor on AGOA and Trade Susan K. Muhwezi said during a visit to Invisible Children’s social enterprise – Mend – in Gulu last week.

Emphasizing the value of trade over aid in developing countries, Muhwezi encouraged the staff and seamstresses at Mend to continue crafting quality products for export to the U.S. She also promised to work on getting Mend AGOA certified, so that the bags made in Uganda can be exported to the U.S. duty-free and quota-free.

“What you are doing is good for the country, is good for Gulu,” Muhwezi continued. “You’re giving people skills that will carry on.”

AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) was designed in 2000 to open up the U.S. market for 37 designated Sub-Saharan African countries, including Uganda, by allowing for duty-free imports to the U.S. According to AGOA bi-lateral trade graphs, U.S. textile and apparel imports from Uganda in 2012 amounted to $128,000. Only $32,000 of that was covered under AGOA.

See the full selection of Mend products available here.

Muhwezi with the seamstresses at Mend.

Muhwezi with the seamstresses at Mend.

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