The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a non-reciprocal preferential trade programme that the US offers to 49 sub-Saharan African countries. President Obama's decision to extend AGOA, which was set to expire at the end of September 2015, for another 10 years (2015 to 2025), was highly controversial. The Extension and Enhancement of AGOA Act, signed into law by President Obama on the 29 June 2015, had thus included many new provisions to incorporate the views of the US Congress on the implementation of the 10-year extension and the future trajectory of AGOA.
In this paper, the Extension and Enhancement of AGOA Act is analysed to elucidate the new and additional powers that the new AGOA Act provides the US Congress, the US Administration, and US business lobbies, and the implications of these changes for sub-Saharan African countries. At least three new trends in the 2015 AGOA Act can be identified: payment for preferences, institutional attrition, and a shift to reciprocity. These trends, it is argued in this paper, are potentially contrary to a more mutually beneficial relationship between the US and Africa. The paper offers some reflections on the future of AGOA.