Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has condemned the decision by the United States government to expel Uganda from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) trade deal.
US President Joe Biden last week announced plans to expel Uganda and three other countries namely Gabon, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR) from the trade deal.
Biden said the countries had been involved in “gross violations” of human rights or not making progress towards democratic rule.
Niger and Gabon are currently under military rule following coups this year – are ineligible for Agoa.
But Biden said the removal of the CAR and Uganda from the programme was due to “gross violations of internationally recognised human rights” by their governments.
The US government had already said in May this year that it was considering removing Uganda from Agoa and introducing sanctions on the country after it passed a controversial anti-homosexuality law.
Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law is considered one of the harshest in the world, as it makes room for jailing offenders and in some instances making room for the capital punishment.
Museveni said in a statement on Sunday that his citizens should not be discouraged by the US government’s actions.
“I need to advise you not to be over-concerned by the recent actions by the American Government in discouraging their companies from investing in Uganda and on removing Uganda from the AGOA list,” he said.
He said Uganda was unperturbed by the actions of the US government and had the capacity to still develop without the support of the US.
“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,” Museveni said.
Museveni who tagged US government’s action as arrogant said there are equally other foreign actors who support Uganda’s position on homosexuality.
“The further good news, is that not all the Western Countries’ actors are of the same arrogant attitude. Many, actually, either agree with us or believe in the correct principles of live and let live,” he added.
Fellow Ugandans and, especially, the Bazzukulu. Greetings.
I need to advise you not to be over-concerned by the recent actions by the American Government in discouraging their companies from investing in Uganda and on removing Uganda from the AGOA list.
Some of these actors in…
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) November 5, 2023
The US introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) trade deal in 2000.
It gives sub-Saharan African countries part of the deal duty-free access to the US for more than 1,800 products.
South Africa hosted the 20th Agoa forum last week. The expulsion of Uganda and the three other countries from Agoa is set to take effect from the start of next year.
There are concerns the move would likely impact the economies of those countries as Agoa has helped to promote exports, economic growth and job creation among participating countries.