• Rags to riches

    Rags to riches

    Lesotho may be a tiny landlocked nation situated within the borders of South Africa but the benefits from signing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2000 have had a massive impact on its economy.

    The AGOA allows for at least 6 000 products from 38 sub-Saharan African countries to enter the US market duty free. Roughly 80% of Lesotho’s textile and garment exports are destined for the US, and last year accounted for US$330 million – making it Lesotho’s largest private-sector employer.

    According to an AFKInsider report, several factories in its capital Maseru export – on average – nearly US$250 million annually in garments to popular US brands such as Old Navy, Walmart and Levi’s. Other major US garment exporters include Kenya, Mauritius and Swaziland. South Africa leads in automobiles, while also taking the top spot for being the biggest beneficiary of AGOA – recording US$1.7 billion worth of exported goods to the US in 2015.

    15 November 2016
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images