US President Joe Biden has informed the Congress Tuesday October 31 his intents to remove Uganda, Gabon, Central African Republic (CAR) and Niger as beneficiaries of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a program that allows African countries to export to the U.S duty-free.
“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 explained.
The US leader argued that CAR 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.
Gabon and Niger, both countries now ruled by military-led Administrations following military coups are removed because they have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law, Biden added. Uganda on the other hand is being slapped because of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, Biden also stressed.
Uganda and the U.S have seen their relations recently go sour after the eastern African country passed an anti-homosexuality law in May 2023. The Biden Administration slammed the move and branded it tragic violation of universal human rights.
Uganda scorned the concerns of the Biden Administration and defended itself arguing that the law was needed to prevent LGBTQ community members from recruiting others.
Biden’s decision will take effect on January 1st 2024 but for the meantime, the Administration will continue assessing whether the four southern African countries meet the AGOA eligibility requirements.
The US introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in 2000. The program allows eligible southern African countries to access to the US for more than 1,800 products.