|Official Name||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Location||Central Africa, northeast of Angola|
|Area||total: 2,345,410 sq km land: 2,267,600 sq km water: 77,810 sq km|
|Climate||tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler and wetter in eastern highlands; north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February); south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October)|
|Terrain||vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east|
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act that significantly enhances U.S. market access for (currently) 39 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The Act originally covered the 8-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by U.S.President George Bush in July 2004 further extend AGOA to 2015. At the same time, a special dispensation relating to apparel was extended by three years to 2007. On 20 December 2006, key changes to AGOA were signed into law, extending the garment provisions to 2012. In June 2007, a revised textile certificate of origin was published to give effect to the "abundant supply" provisions contained in the most recent legislative changes.AGOA builds on existing U.S. trade programs by expanding the (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program. Duty-free access to the U.S. market under the combined AGOA/GSP program stands at approximately 7,000 product tariff lines, including the roughly 1,800 product tariff lines that were added to the GSP by the AGOA legislation. Notably, these include items such as apparel and footwear, wine, certain motor vehicle components, a variety of agricultural products, chemicals, steel and others. The purpose of this legislation was to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.
The Cotonou Agreement is aimed at the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty while contributing to sustainable development and to the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy. The revised Cotonou Agreement is also concerned with the fight against impunity and promotion of criminal justice through the International Criminal Court. The agreement also provides for reciprocal trade agreements, meaning that not only the EU provides duty-free access to its markets for ACP exports, but ACP countries also provide duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports.
Formed with the idea in mind to accelerate the process of integrating the continent to enable it to play its role in the global economy, while addressing multifacted social, economic and political problems that are compounded by negative aspects of globalization.