Uganda President Museveni writes to Biden over AGOA ban: summary

What we know

  • AGOA is an American initiative that allows qualifying African states duty-free access to the United States
  • On October 30, 2023, United States President Joe Biden wrote to the Speaker of the House of the President of the United States Senate stating his intent of the termination of Uganda, Gabon, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR) as beneficiaries of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) citing human rights violations
  • President Yoweri Museveni in May 2023 assented to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act
  • On December 4 2023, the US extended its ban on visas for Ugandan authorities to include those it holds accountable for weakening democracy and suppressing marginalised communities such as the LGBT community in Uganda.
  • President Museveni on December 5, 2023, wrote to United States President Biden over his decision to terminate Uganda as a beneficiary of AGOA
  • The termination of Uganda as a beneficiary of AGOA is effective in January 2024, should the East African nation fail to meet eligibility requirements

What they said

President Joe Biden in his letter to the Speaker of the Senate said, “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.” President Yoweri Museveni in a statement following the announcement of the impending ban also said, “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.”

Edward Sakyi
Edward Sakyi

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