African Growth and Opportunity Act Coalition, Inc.

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"The "African Growth and Opportunity Act Coalition, Inc." is comprised of 45 multinational corporations, lobbying shops and law firms. Many of the lobbying firms represent foreign governments, in addition to U.S. oil companies with operations in Africa.(2)

"Chester Crocker, the former State Department official notorious for designing the Reagan Administration's "engagement" policy with South Africa's apartheid regime is prominently listed on Africa Inc's Advisory Board. The phone number on the coalition's fancy letterhead and website rings to the desk of someone in the D.C. lobbying shop of Ford Motor Company.

"The Coalition (hereafter "Africa, Inc.") includes some U.S.-based corporations already known for their associations with African dictators, human rights and environmental violations in other nations, and for disregard for civil rights and poor communities of color in the United States...

"Ambassador David Miller of the Corporate Council for Africa, who also sits on Africa Inc's advisory board, lobbied on behalf of Chevron against economic sanctions for Nigeria. In his June 25, 1998 Congressional testimony on the prospects of democracy in Nigeria, he claimed that "oil companies there [Nigeria] operate to the same standards as here in the United States" and that claims of the contrary were "misrepresentations." (36) Miller was responding to statements by a member of Congress about the lurid history of "environmental racism" by oil companies operating in Nigeria reported in the Wall Street Journal and documented by the World Bank.(37)

"Daniel O'Flaherty of the U.S.-South Africa Business Council is another advisory board member of Africa Inc. He is also Vice President of the National Foreign Trade Council, the parent group of USA*Engage. USA*Engage is a coalition of businesses opposed to using economic sanctions to promote human rights. The group is pressing a constitutional challenge against Massachusetts' selective-purchasing law on Burma. Many African Inc. members are also members of USA*Engage, whose sole purpose is to block sanctions efforts ­ patterned on those that succeeded in South Africa ­ to hold dictators and the businesses who fund them accountable to human rights standards." [1]

Other Criticism

Kelly Harris concludes:

"The idea of expanding markets for African business, alleviating corruption, increasing investment opportunities are all sound and reasonable goals. The problem is that the AGOA benefits multinational more than local businesses and workers. For all its progressive language, the AGOA was created to expand U.S. economic and strategic interests in Africa. The AGOA should be viewed as a compliment to AFRICOM and the Bush adminstrations war against terror." (AGOA: Old win in new bottles or enlightened U.S. foreign policy?, A Paper Presented to the Panel on Foreign Policy in the New Administration at the 38th Annual

Conference of the North Carolina Political Science Association 27 February 2009 University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

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