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Termination of Uganda’s AGOA Designation Represents the Latest Blow from the U.S.

The imminent removal of Uganda from a program that offers favorable trade terms with the United States is set to hurt key export sectors in the economy including coffee, cotton, and textiles. The East African country will be suspended from the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) program on Jan 1. 2024 along with Gabon, Central African Republic and Niger. The countries will lose valuable trade terms which have generated millions of dollars and created tens of thousands of jobs on the continent. Most of the countries have been removed from the program for various anti-democratic reasons including military coups. But the U.S. President Joe Biden cited Uganda’s “gross violations” of human rights. The suspension has changed the calculus for Ugandan companies trying to do business with the U.S. “Exporters now are forced to look for other markets for their products to replace the U.S. instead of growing and expanding,” Jane Nalunga, executive director of trade organization Seatini-Uganda, told Semafor Africa. Uganda exported goods worth $174 million to the U.S. in 2022, up from $82 million in 2021.