Four African countries are due to be expelled from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) the preferential trade framework which the United States (US) has implemented to benefit African countries.

AGOA gives eligible countries duty-free access to the lucrative American market.

Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and the Central African Republic will lose the benefits of AGOA because of human rights violations, or because they failed to make progress to democratic governance.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, President Joe Biden 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.’

The expulsion will take effect from the beginning of next year.

There has been speculation that South Africa could also be expelled from AGOA because of its foreign policy stance, but it seems for now that the country will remain as part of the trade agreement.

An AGOA Forum is due to be held in Johannesburg this week.

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