BLADENSBURG, MD – November 30, 2020 – The African Merchants Association, a business organization of more than 100 wholesalers and retailers who purchase and sell Africa products, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Women’s’ Entrepreneurship Program, a network of thousands of African women producers in 44 chapter across Africa. The agreement commits both organizations to identify and link their members to facilitate increased trade – from food products to apparel to jewelry and handicrafts and more.
“We consider this historic agreement to be consistent with the aims of both the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Prosper Africa, the new U.S. Government trade initiative,” said Mr. Pius Ezeigwe, President of the African Merchants Association. “We are finally connecting small and medium African producers and small and medium African Diaspora buyers – the largest business segments in numbers in Africa and the Diaspora.”
AGOA initially attempted to pair African producers with large American buyers. In some cases, such as the DTRT apparel makers in Ghana, this worked because that company’s production met the needs of large buyers globally. However, most African producers and Diaspora buyers would be considered small and medium enterprises and not able to satisfy the needs of large buyers. However, this current producer-seller agreement allows both sides to scale production and purchases to levels they can comfortably meet while building their capacity to do more.
“We already have significant capacity to buy African products through a membership of wholesalers and retailers from New York to North Carolina, and we hope to grow as Diaspora and African businesses see the benefit in coordinated actions. Such movement toward cooperative ventures is what led to the creation of the Merchants Association in the first place,” said Mr. Ezeigwe.
The Merchants Association began in 2018 as the African Food Merchants Association when importers in the Washington area realized they had shared problems importing goods. Two years later, African businesses in sectors beyond food – clothing, artifacts, etc. – said they were interested in joining an active trade group. Consequently, the African Food Merchants Association merged with the African