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US To Terminate Uganda, Gabon, Niger & Central African Republic From AGOA Program

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Uganda has been dropped by the US government from the list of countries that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) allowed to access US markets.

Uganda, along with the Central African Republic, Gabon, and Niger, will no longer be eligible for AGOA benefits, according to a letter from US President Joe Biden to the Speaker of the House and Senate.

“I am taking this action because I have found that Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and the Central African Republic do not meet the requirements for eligibility outlined in section 104 of the AGOA.” In particular, Bideon stated, “The Central African Republic’s government has committed flagrant transgressions of globally acknowledged human rights and has not established, or is not consistently moving toward, the protection of globally recognized worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism.”

“In conclusion, the Ugandan government has committed flagrant transgressions against internationally acknowledged human rights.”

The US President asserts that Uganda has not responded to concerns expressed about its non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility requirements despite efforts by his government to engage with the East African nation.

The Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda have not responded to US concerns on their noncompliance with AGOA eligibility requirements, despite extensive engagement between the two countries.

With effect from January 1, 2024, I therefore plan to revoke these nations’ AGOA status as beneficiary sub-Saharan African nations.

The change occurred a few months after Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, which penalizes homosexuality, was passed.

Since then, the US has denounced Uganda for enacting the legislation, claiming it to be a grave breach of all human rights.

In response, though, the Ugandan government recently charged that the West was using the law as a kind of blackmail.

Although we value our partners’ support, they should remember that we are an independent nation and do not enact laws on behalf of the West. Here in Uganda, we have laws that benefit our own people. Thus, blackmail of that nature is unacceptable, as stated recently by Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of ICT and National Guidance.

AGOA, which was introduced in 2000, allows exports from nations that meet the requirements to enter the US market duty-free. Although there has already been talk on whether to extend it and for how long, it is scheduled to expire in September 2025.

African governments and business associations are advocating for an early, unmodified 10-year extension to allay business fears and attract new investors over AGOA’s viability.

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