On October 25, 2011 the President announced the reinstatement of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits for Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Niger. This was the culmination of a review by the Administration to examine whether Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger had made “continual progress” during the year in meeting AGOA’s eligibility criteria. Those criteria include establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized worker rights, and efforts to combat corruption. Restoring AGOA eligibility provides opportunities to increase mutually beneficial trade and investment between Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and the United States.
Cote d'Ivoire lost AGOA benefits in 2005 and both Niger and Guinea ceased to be AGOA eligible at the beginning of 2010. All three countries lost AGOA eligibility due to undemocratic changes of government. In the period between 2010 and 2011 Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Niger successfully completed free and fair presidential elections. This political progress was a key factor in reinstating AGOA benefits.
AGOA was signed into law by President Clinton in May 2000, with the objectives of expanding U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa, stimulating economic growth, promoting a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, encouraging economic integration, and facilitating sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy. With the addition of Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Niger there are currently 40 Sub-Saharan African countries eligible to receive AGOA benefits.