President Museveni has downplayed the decision by the United States to scrap Uganda off the list of beneficiaries accessing the American market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
In a statement on Sunday evening, the president advised Ugandans not to be over concerned by the actions of the US in removing the country off the list of AGOA beneficiaries.
“Some of these actors in the Western World overestimate themselves and underestimate the freedom fighters of Africa. On account of some of the freedom fighters making mistakes of philosophy, ideology and strategy, some of the foreign actors, erroneously think that African countries cannot move forward without their support. Certainly, as far as Uganda is concerned, we have the capacity to achieve our growth and transformation targets, even if some of the actors do not support us,” Museveni said.
Last week, US President, Joe Biden announced that he was cutting Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon and Niger from the AGOA beneficiaries from January 2024.
Launched in 2000, AGOA grants exports from qualifying countries duty-free access to the U.S. market. It is set to expire in September 2025, but discussions are already under way over whether to extend it and for how long.
A defiant Museveni however hailed the US government for not making a mistake of ceasing funding for the procurement of HIV drugs for over 1.4 million Ugandans but noted nevertheless, even if this funding was stopped, Uganda has a contingency plan.
He insisted that all these actions by the West can be described as an act of being arrogant and looking down upon others that he said ought to be rejected by Africans.
“I am told that some of the Arab countries, have similar laws. Why don’t these actors put similar pressures, on them? In 1963, the OAU was founded in Addis Ababa. Only 36 African Countries were independent that time and they are the ones that attended. Almost another 20 countries were not yet independent. That OAU meeting, then, demanded that all the African countries, must be independent, either by peace or by war. The arrogant of the World, mocked us. What can Africans do?”
He added, “ In 1964, Frelimo launched the Armed struggle against the Portuguese army in Mozambique, joining the MPLA that had launched an uprising earlier. By 1994, the whole of Africa had been liberated by the force of the Africans supported by the socialist countries of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc.”
Museveni said Africa has got all the ingredients to succeed if they are used correctly.
“ Uganda, under the NRM, is and will succeed, regardless of what some of the external actors and internal detractors do. The further good news, is that not all the western countries’ actors are of the same arrogant attitude. Many, actually, either agree with us or believe in the correct principles of live and let live.”
Last week, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) said the scrapping of AGOA is going to affect Uganda.
“While Ugandan trade through AGOA was insubstantial, growth of our exports to the US and other partners was an important pillar of our economic strategy going forward. Ugandan farmers and small business owners will suffer,” Rwabwogo said.