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US to remove four African countries from trade deal over ‘violation of human rights’

by Admin

The United States says it plans to expel Uganda, Gabon, Niger Republic, and the Central African Republic (CAR) from the African growth and opportunity act (AGOA).

AGOA is a special US-Africa trade programme introduced in 2,000 and gives eligible sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria duty-free access to the country for more than 1,800 products.

In a letter to the senate president on Monday, Joe Biden, US president, said the decision was taken after the countries engaged in “gross violations of internationally recognised human rights”.

Biden added that the countries “have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of internationally recognized worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism”.

Biden said efforts to address the issues raised by the US in the aforementioned countries were not successful.

“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,” the US president said.

“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.”

In May, the US government said it was considering removing Uganda from AGOA and introducing sanctions against the country after it passed a controversial anti-homosexuality law, imposing a death penalty on people found guilty of engaging in certain same-sex acts.

Gabon and Niger Republic have also faced criticism over the military coups in their countries.

Last week, the state department announced that the US had suspended most foreign aid to Gabon and would only resume assistance if the country’s transitional government establishes democratic rule.

In August, a similar measure was taken against the Niger Republic, with Antony Blinken, secretary of state, saying certain foreign assistance had been cut off from the West African country.

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea have all previously been expelled from AGOA after military coups in those countries

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