A new alliance has been formed with the aim of expanding trade and investment in the cotton textile and apparel sectors between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), and the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF) are to work together to promote Africa as a reliable sourcing destination for international buyers.

They also plan to explore opportunities to promote US trade and investment in Africa.

"Africa is poised to make great strides in economic development in this decade with our combined GDP growing by 60% by 2020," notes ACTIF's chairman Jaswinder Bedi.

"This partnership with USAID and AAFA will ensure that both the United States and Africa participate in this growth story."

With support from USAID, AAFA and ACTIF will exchange information on market and import/export policy, guidance on requirements and best practices, and the promotion of joint solutions to address market constraints.

"Sub-Saharan Africa is a growing player in the global apparel and footwear marketplace," adds AAFA executive vice president Steve Lamar.

US President Barack Obama last year emphasised the need to spur economic growth, trade, and investment in Africa.

However, he also said that while AGOA (the African Growth and Opportunity Act) - which is set to expire in September 2015 - needs to be renewed, "work needs to be done to make it more effective."

USAID principal adviser for Africa, Oren Whyche-Shaw, believes the new USAID-AAFA-ACTIF partnership will "take advantage of growing opportunities in the global marketplace and create jobs and income on both continents."