US President Joe Biden has expelled Uganda and three other countries from the list of beneficiary Sub-Saharan countries from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) deal.
Introduced IN 2000, AGOA gives qualifying sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US for nearly 2,000 products.
Uganda has earned billions from exports to the US under AGOA in recent years. For example, Kampala earned about $5.1m from exports in 2021 alone.
But now, about 50 companies exporting to the US will have to look elsewhere after President Biden communicated his intent to terminate the designation of Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Gabonese Republic, and Niger as beneficiary Sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
In his letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, Biden accused Uganda and other of flouting AGOA rules.
“In accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing advance notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Central African Republic, the Gabonese Republic (Gabon), Niger, and the Republic of Uganda (Uganda) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” Biden wrote.
“I am taking this step because I have determined that the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda do not meet the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA.”
He accused Uganda of violating human right. Gabon and Niger are accused of failure to observe the rule of law.
“Specifically, the Government of the Central African Republic has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and has not established, or is not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of internationally recognized worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism,” the elderly US president claimed.
“Niger and the Government of Gabon have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law. Finally, the Government of Uganda has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
He further claimed that Uganda and others were unable to work on US demands for better compliance.
“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,” he continued.
“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of these countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA, effective January 1, 2024. I will continue to assess whether the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda meet the AGOA eligibility requirements.”
Although Biden did not give details on human rights violations in Uganda, the shrinking political space and the Ant-Homosexuality Act could have been major triggers.
Before Uganda’s MPs passed the anti-gay bill into law in an IF WE DIE WE DIE statement, the US had threatened to stop giving Uganda money to buy ARV drugs for HIV/AIDS patients. The US would later cancel Speaker Anita Among’s visa over the anti-gay law. (Read Stories Here, There and Over There).
Later, the World Bank announced it would no longer give money to Uganda over the Anti-Homosexuality law. A number of projects will no longer get money over homosexuals. (See Details Here, There and Over There).
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