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    President Biden to Block Uganda, Niger from Agoa Access

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    Somali Magazine – The United States President, Joe Biden, has fired a new warning to Uganda, Niger, Gabon, and the Central African Republic (CAR), seeking to strike them off from accessing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), effective January 1, 2024.

    “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,” Biden said.

    The US President says the outlined countries have lost credibility to address the United States on matters of non-compliance with the trade wing (Agoa).

    “Despite intensive engagement between the US and the CAR, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address the United States’ concerns about their non-compliance with the Agoa eligibility criteria,” Biden also said in a letter addressed to the speaker of the US House of Representatives.

    Former US president Bill Clinton introduced the Agoa as a special vehicle to promote the US-Africa trade on October 2, 2000, and designated many Sub-Saharan countries eligible to benefit from duty-free access to US markets for more than 1,800 products from Africa.

    Niger, Gabon, and Uganda have recently confronted western countries, pushing for’social justice’ in the African states.

    Niger is accused of violating rights and democratic principles after organizing coups in the country. On the other hand, Uganda is accused of a controversial anti-homosexuality law, which was passed in May this year.

    However, after the passing of the anti-LGBTQ law by the Ugandan Parliament, Biden went ahead and called for its immediate repeal, accusing the Ugandan government of lacking proper guidelines for protecting human rights.

    “The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human rights. No one should have to live in constant fear for their life or be subjected to violence and discrimination. It is wrong,” Biden added while confirming that the law would affect U.S.-Uganda relations.

    The American President further said that in his capacity, he would consider sanctioning Uganda and restricting entry into the US, especially for people involved in human rights violations.

    As a result of punishing Uganda, the US has over the last four months issued two advisories, one of which is a warning to businesspeople and US companies working with or dealing with Uganda.

    This will, however, cause a massive loss to Uganda, considering that Uganda has grown her exports to the US under Agoa to about $180 million in 2021. Uganda exports coffee, vanilla, mushroom spawn, and other crops to the US.

    By Mujidu Victor

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