United States President, Joe Biden, has revealed plans to expel four countries from a special US-Africa trade programme, Agoa. Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and the Central African Republic (CAR) are the four countries to be removed from the deal.
These countries according to the US president, were either involved in ” gross violations” of human rights or not making progress towards democratic rule.
Uganda has recently passed an anti-LGBTQ+ law that has been considered one of the harshest human rights laws to be passed. This would count as a ” gross violation” of human rights. CAR has also been accused of violation of human rights, resulting in their suspension.
For the other two West African countries ( Gabon and Niger), they have recently had coups in their countries. Niger, for example, is currently being led by the Junta after they took over power from the sitting president. Both these countries are currently under military rule, hence, showing no progress towards an established democratic rule.
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act ( Agoa) was introduced by the US in 2000. It was aimed at granting eligible Sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US for more than 1,800 products.
In May, the US government suggested the removal of Uganda from Agoa following the law they passed. It further imposed sanctions on the country due to the controversial anti-homosexuality law. The law imposes a death penalty on people found guilty of same-sex acts.
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Expulsion from Agoa
The expulsion of these countries will take place at the start of next year and will largely affect the economies of these countries. Agoa has been known to promote exports, economic growth and job creation in the participating countries.
The US equally suspended foreign aid to Gabon on the condition that the aid would be reinstated if Gabon’s transitional government established a democratic rule. Foreign assistance programs were also halted in Niger due to the military rule in the region.
Prior to this, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea were also expelled from Agoa while they were under military rule. This directive is in line with the actions presented in the past.
“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger and Uganda, these countries have failed to address UnitedStates’ concerns about their non-compliance with the Agoa eligibility criteria,” President Biden stated.