Introduced in the United States Congress in April 1997 and signed into law in May 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was prompted by the realization that “it is in the mutual interest of the United States and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa to promote stable and sustainable economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa.” Proponents of the Act asserted that by extending certain trade benefits to developing sub-Saharan countries, conditioned on structural market and political reforms, the United States would promote economic development and democratic rule, while reaping the benefits of strong trade relations with growing African markets.