There is widespread consensus that development in Africa is held back by the capricious policies of the government. I am referring, of course, to the US government.

A crucial duty-free provision of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will expire in September, killing off the African textile export jobs on which 200,000 families depend.

US government policy on Africa is capricious because nobody cares.

The NYT has not mentioned AGOA in print since 2010 and virtually all of its mentions over the last decade were in Nick Kristof columns; the last regular NYT news story on AGOA was in 2003.

The Washington Post last mentioned AGOA in 2009 in a story headlined:

Clinton Pushes Kenyan Leaders to Follow Through on Promised Reforms

Don’t blame the newspapers: they cover what their readers want to read. (The specialized business press, FT (already linked above) and WSJ have done better covering the current crisis.) We had our own bitter experience with this when we lobbied hard to save AGOA jobs in Madagascar, with an impressive lack of success. Apparently none of the three readers of those posts had much ability to influence US government policy.

So my prediction is that this post today will have no readers and will have no effect whatsoever, unless enough of you non-readers get outraged enough about this non-effect to use your non-influence to save the day.

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