US gov’t scraps Uganda off AGOA beneficiaries list

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The United States government has scrapped Uganda off the list of beneficiaries  accessing the American market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In a letter to the Speaker of the House and president of Senate, US President, Joe Biden said Uganda together with Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger will no longer be beneficiaries of AGOA for failure to meet eligibility requirements.

 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.  Specifically, the Government of the Central African Republic 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,” Bideon said.

“Finally, the Government of Uganda has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

According to the US President, despite his government’s efforts to engage with Uganda , the East African country has failed to address the concerns raised in regards non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria.

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.

“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of these countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA, effective January 1, 2024.”

The development comes a few months after Uganda passed the Anti Homosexuality law which punishes homosexuality.

The US has since condemned Uganda for passing the law that they said  is a tragic violation of universal human rights.

However, speaking in response, the Ugandan government  recently accused the West of blackmail in regards the law.

"While we appreciate the support we get from partners, they must be reminded that we are a sovereign country and we do not legislate for the Western world. We legislate for our own people here in Uganda. So that kind of blackmail is not acceptable,” Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr.Chris Baryomunsi said recently.

AGOA

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.

African governments and industry groups are pushing for an early 10-year extension without changes in order to reassure business and new investors who might have concerns over AGOA’s future.

 

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