In a letter sent to the speaker of the US House of Representatives on Monday, Pres. Joe Biden announced his intention to remove the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, Niger and Uganda from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a move that will be effective on Jan. 1, 2024.
He argued that these sub-Saharan countries had failed to address concerns over non-compliance with the trade program qualifying criteria, adding that he would continue to evaluate whether they align with the requirements for eligibility.
This trade program has been a significant driver for economic growth for many sub-Saharan countries, so this decision — although not yet set in stone — will be damaging to the expelled states. With the Act's beneficiaries desperate for the program to be extended for at least another 10 years post-2025, Biden has reaffirmed that supportive political will remains a necessity in any country's dealings with the US.
The US continues a social reconstruction of the African Growth and Opportunity Act directed towards the wider purpose of retaining international influence in response to the perceived rising threats of China and Russia. When originally formed, the Act was intended to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa — today, it is a proxy for hegemony that dismisses the legitimate sovereignty of African nations to make their own domestic decisions.