Joe Biden excluded Niger, Gabon, Uganda and the Central African Republic from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) due to “human rights violations” or military coups.
Until a few months ago, AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) served as a bargaining chip for the United States. It was then a question for Washington of asking the African countries part of AGOA not to turn towards China or Russia. In return, the economic contribution of AGOA was significant.
“The main instrument available to Washington to expand trade and encourage good behavior in Africa is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is set to expire in 2025. It is a framework that serves as leverage” , written in particular but as the data shows, trade is in obvious decline,” wrote Bhaso Ndzendze, professor at the University of Johannesburg.
But beyond the simple Cold War between the United States and Russia, AGOA seems to have become more than a lever: it now resembles a tool of blackmail. Disagreeing on several points with some African countries, Washington decided to withdraw Niger, Gabon, Uganda and the Central African Republic from AGOA. They will, in essence, cease to benefit from commercial facilities to export their production to the United States.
What has meant that these countries will now have to pay customs duties if they want to export their products to American soil? For Niger and Gabon, the observation is simple: the Recent coups and military juntas in power do not please the United States.
As for the Central African Republic, it is the “flagrant violations of human rights and workers’ rights” that would concern Joe Biden. Finally, Uganda is targeted by the United States for “gross violations of international human rights”. In question, the anti-homosexuality law.
For Washington, we must show our credentials to be part of AGOA. But of course, with American rules: if the anti-homosexuality law is frowned upon by Washington, the criminalization of abortion, which particularly affects the United States, would not pose a problem in Washington, for example.
But no matter: Washington has the right of life and death over African exports: we must respect American ideology to hope not to have to pay customs duties. And for Kampala, exports still represent 175 million dollars last year alone.
While the United States had asked Kampala not to enter into a trade agreement with Russia, Washington already reduced visas for Ugandan officials "responsible for abuses against the rights, particularly of LGBT people" last June.
But will AGOA really bother the countries concerned? In any case, ironically, Joe Biden clarified that none of the countries concerned had attempted to defend their cause with the American administration.