Rep. Rangel Praises AGOA In Meeting With African Business Leaders
Rep. Charles Rangel
Congressman Charles B. Rangel (NY-13), who made history as the first African American chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, received a standing ovation following his remarks welcoming hundreds of African business leaders attending a special event for the Africa Leadership Summit at the United States Capitol, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
The event, "A Dialogue with African CEOs," was hosted by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5), Co-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Africa Task Force, and included panel discussions with political leaders, representatives from trade and development agencies, business leaders, and Members of Congress.
It took place on the last day of the historical U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in which President Barack Obama brought together heads of state from 50 African countries to focus on how to encourage progress in key areas that are crucial to the future development of the continent.
"This is an exciting opportunity," said Rangel. "It's so historic. The seeds we planted 13 years ago [with the passage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act] go far beyond our legislative imagination. It wasn't the bill; it was the people that made it."
Rangel continued, "I tell you, having 50 African leaders in the White House, in the United States Congress-- the whole world is watching what we do."
Rangel, who currently serves as the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, has been a longtime supporter of promoting economic growth and development in Africa. He was the primary author of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which for the first time created a trade and investment framework between the U.S. and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
Since its enactment in May 2000 by President Bill Clinton, AGOA has helped more than triple African exports to almost $25 billion, drastically increasing the per capita income in sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA has played an important role in the partnership between the United States and Africa, signaling new job opportunities in Africa and investment opportunities for Americans.
Inspired by Rangel's many accomplishments and years of service, Meeks described him as a trailblazer who "has been moving and always ahead of the curve."
"We're not only going to be able to shift the economy for equality, to be able to have our kids have decent healthcare, education, and aspirations, we're going to let the whole world know that color is not going to be what it used to be in terms of who is free and who is not," said Rangel, who is one of the two remaining founding Members of the CBC still serving in the United States Congress.
A complete video of Congressman Rangel's welcoming remarks can be watched here.