December 6, 2023

US announces plans to remove Uganda, three other African countries from Agoa trade deal

The US government has announced plans to expel Uganda, Gabon, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR) from a special US-Africa trade programme facilitated by Washington.

The US introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in the year 2000.

The trade programme allows sub-Saharan African countries to have duty-free access to the US for more than 1,800 products.

Justifying reasons for the proposed expulsion, President Joe Biden said the countries were either involved in “gross violations” of human rights or not making progress towards democratic governance.

Mr. Biden added that Niger and Gabon are not qualified for Agoa because they “have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law.”

Washington announced that the removal of the Central African Republic and Uganda from the programme was as a result of “gross violations of internationally recognised human rights” by their governments.

Recall that the US government said it was planning to sanction Ugandan and expel it from Agoa after the country passed a controversial anti-homosexuality law.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the Agoa eligibility criteria,” President Biden said on Monday, in a letter addressed to the speaker of the US House of Representatives.

The affected countries are yet to respond to the announcement by the US leader.


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