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Biden Seeks To Improve AGOA Trade Program Amid Controversy

7 months ago
1 min read

During the US-Africa summit in Johannesburg, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced President Joe Biden’s intention to enhance the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the duty-free trade program with Africa.

AGOA, set to expire in September 2025, grants African countries access to the US market. Biden, working with Congress, seeks to make improvements to the program.

However, some African countries are pushing for an early 10-year extension without changes to reassure businesses and investors.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa expressed the continent’s desire to use AGOA to industrialize and promote growth in solid mineral resources. He stated, “We look forward to the United States working with African countries to foster an investment-led approach that aims to diversify international supply chains of critical minerals by beneficiating these resources here on the African continent.”

African nations are seeking greater flexibility in eligibility criteria and a reduction in the annual review of those criteria to enhance AGOA’s effectiveness.

On the controversial side, the Biden administration had decided to cease the participation of Gabon, Niger, Uganda, and the Central African Republic in AGOA due to issues related to governance and human rights.

Uganda’s trade minister, Harriet Ntabazi, called for reconsideration and negotiation, suggesting a distinction between trade and these concerns. Uganda’s exclusion has been linked to its anti-homosexuality law passed by parliament in May.


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