US to Remove Uganda from Agoa Trade Deal
United States of America President, Joe Biden, in a written statement addressed to the US Legislative body, has expressed intent to halt Ugandan exports through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for alleged human rights violation.
On Monday,Biden wrote to the Speaker of the senate accusing African countries including Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and Central African Republic for human rights violations.
US to remove Uganda from the Agoa trade deal due to the LGBTQ law. pic.twitter.com/cqjrRaqcrd
— Kenyan Business (@BusinessIntelKE) October 31, 2023
Let me break it down for you. Back in May, the US government dropped a bombshell, hinting at kicking Uganda out of the AGOA club and maybe even throwing some sanctions into the mix. Why, you ask? Well, it all started with Uganda passing a super controversial anti-LGBT law, which, believe it or not, includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts. Yeah, it’s as messed up as it sounds.
Now, despite some serious discussions between the United States and a bunch of African countries – Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and, of course, Uganda – these nations apparently couldn’t meet the criteria for AGOA eligibility. President Biden dropped the mic on this one in a letter to the House of Representatives, basically saying, “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.”
So, what’s the deal now? Well, these four countries are keeping their poker faces on for the moment. But here’s the kicker: this announcement hit the scene just before South Africa is gearing up to host the 20th Agoa forum this week. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
These countries are getting the boot from AGOA, and it’s bound to hit them hard – starting next year! The fallout? Brace yourselves; it’s gonna send shockwaves through their economies. AGOA has been this shining beacon, boosting exports, economic growth, and job opportunities in the nations that joined the club.
Now, peep this: Central African Republic, or CAR, is kinda shrugging this off ’cause they only raked in about $881,000 in US exports last year. But hold up, they were splurging on American goods, with a whopping $23 million worth of stuff flowing into CAR, creating a colossal trade deficit.
Meanwhile, Uganda, Gabon, and Niger are taking some heavy hits. Uganda was pulling in a cool $174 million in exports to the US in 2022. Gabon and Niger were no slouches either, with $220 million and $73 million, respectively.
And if that’s not enough drama for you, just last month, President Yoweri Museveni spilled the beans. He let it slip that some big-shot American companies are already saying bye-bye to Ugandan textiles, all thanks to that anti-LGBT law.
“The homosexuals in the US are interfering with our export of textiles. Some of the orders have been cancelled there,” Mr Museveni was quoted as saying by the privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper.
Alright, let’s dive into this high-stakes showdown. Last August, Mr. Museveni dropped a bombshell – he banned the import of second-hand clothes, and you bet your bottom dollar it was aimed right at the US, a heavyweight in the business of shipping used threads to Uganda and other African nations.
Now, as if that’s not enough, here’s the kicker: Niger and Gabon are facing some major heat from the US government. It’s the latest in a series of punches thrown at these two countries, both run by military juntas.
Just last week, the US State Department pulled the plug on most of the foreign aid flowing to Gabon. And they’re not going to hit play on that aid again until Gabon’s transitional government gets its act together and plays by the democratic rulebook.
And Niger? They got hit back in August. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed the brakes on certain foreign assistance programs that were giving a boost to the government of Niger.
Let’s not forget the history books – Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea have already been given the boot from AGOA after military coups shook things up in those parts. The stakes are high, but the African nations seem firm in their decisions.