On Monday, US President Joe Biden announced his intention to terminate Gabon, Niger, Uganda, and the Central African Republic’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade initiative.
Biden claimed that the Central African Republic and Uganda were committing “gross violations” of internationally recognised human rights, which is why he was taking this action. “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,” Biden stated in a letter to the US House of Representatives speaker.
He also mentioned the inability of Gabon and Niger to develop or maintain political plurality and the rule of law protection. With effect from January 1, 2024, Biden stated he plans to revoke these nations’ AGOA status as beneficiary sub-Saharan African nations. He promised to keep determining if they fulfil the prerequisites for the programme.
AGOA, which was introduced in 2000, allows exports from nations that meet the requirements to enter the US market duty-free. Although talks on whether and for how long to extend it are already underway, it is scheduled to expire in September 2025.
African governments and business associations are advocating for an early, unmodified 10-year extension to allay business fears and attract new investors over AGOA’s viability.