CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Zingiswa Losi said at the 20th African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Forum that Agoa had created 450 000 jobs in South Africa since it was enacted in 2000 and that is why the trade union supported its extension beyond September 2025.
“We have come here to be with some 70 other trade union federations from Africa and our partner American labour unions to protect existing jobs and create new jobs.
“This is the first time that labour unions have been part of the discussions at the forum, but we were part of the South African delegation that went to Washington in December last year and July this year to make the case for the extension of Agoa to 2035 and beyond,” she said.
Geopolitics in July and currently were part of the background noise, but she said South Africa was non-aligned.
“We are in favour of peace and stability throughout the world, as where you have conflict you destroy jobs and force people to flee,” she added.
She said the extension of Agoa would not only benefit South Africa, but would also help neighbouring countries to create jobs.
“We were encouraged by the bi-partisan support for an extension of Agoa in our interaction with members of Congress in our trips to Washington, but we stressed that companies need to abide by the labour laws of African countries,” she said.
For South Africa to benefit fully from Agoa, she added, South Africa would have to address structural constraints such as the lack of electricity and poor logistics so that the 42% unemployment rate could be reduced.