U.S. Cuts Off Burkina Faso From Africa Duty-Free Trade Program

U.S. Cuts Off Burkina Faso From Africa Duty-Free Trade Program (News Central TV)
FILE PHOTO: Ivorian police officers are seen by the entrance of Pullman Hotel during the opening session of the 18th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

According to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, Burkina Faso has been removed from the AGOA trade preference program due to serious concerns regarding a “unconstitutional shift” in the country’s administration.

Burkina Faso experienced two military coups in 2022 as a result of frustration with the government’s inability to put a stop to insurgency. Despite efforts to increase security made by both the previous and current juntas, rebel attacks have persisted.

In response to the U.S. decision, the junta’s foreign affairs ministry reaffirmed a November declaration that the timeline for a return to democracy had not changed.

Burkinabe Junta Capt. Ibrahim Traore

In a July deal with the West African regional group ECOWAS, Burkina Faso agreed to revert to constitutional governance in 24 months.

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Sub-Saharan African countries can enter the country duty-free if they fulfill certain standards set forth by the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), such as removing obstacles to U.S. trade and investment and moving closer to political pluralism.

Burkina Faso had not complied with the provisions of the AGOA Act, according to the USTR’s office. Burkina Faso would be provided “clear benchmarks” for a road toward restoration to the trade program, and Washington would cooperate with the Burkinabe authorities, it was said.

One of the world’s poorest nations is Burkina Faso. One of Africa’s fastest-growing humanitarian catastrophes has been caused there by militants affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State who have slaughtered thousands of civilians.

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Nearly 2 million people have been uprooted and are living in improvised camps around the desolate countryside, many of which are run by the United Nations.

A senior United Nations representative was forced to leave Burkina Faso just before Christmas, a move that the U.N. strongly disagreed with.

Although the government did not provide an explanation at the time, its foreign minister later charged Barbara Manzi with distorting the country’s security position.

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