Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
- Museveni says Uganda can do without AGOA.
- Through AGOA, Uganda exported coffee, crafts, vanilla, chocolate, tea, textiles and dried fruits to the US.
- Uganda still benefits from the PEPFAR programme, despite the US threatening to pull out.
Uganda has no need for special tariff breaks from the United States, President Yoweri Museveni said on the weekend, though he is happy that the US will continue to fund HIV medication.
If need be, though, Uganda could go it alone on those drugs too, he said.
Uganda was suspended from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) last week.
“Foreign actors erroneously think that African countries cannot move forward without their support,” said Museveni in a State of the Nation Address.
“Some of these actors in the Western world overestimate themselves and underestimate the freedom fighters of Africa.”
Uganda was removed from AGOA along with the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, and Niger.
US President Joe Biden said Uganda “engaged in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights”.
Museveni this year passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA). The law prescribes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and is viewed as one of the harshest anti-LGBTQI laws.
Museveni said punishing Ugandans for enacting anti-LGBTQI legislation was not fair because the same laws existed in the Arab world.
I am told that some of the Arab countries have similar laws. Why don’t these actors put similar pressure on them?
Through AGOA, Uganda exported coffee, crafts, vanilla, chocolate, tea, textiles and dried fruits to the US.
According to figures from the US State Department, Uganda’s exports to the US under the programme were valued at R19 million (almost Shs4 billion) between 2018 and 2019, a year before the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of 2021, exports had increased to R96 million (about Shs20 billion) from R64 million (almost Shs13 billion).
Although trade with the US under AGOA for Uganda was smaller than with the European Union – which last year stood at R15 billion and the United Kingdom at R8 billion – there was room for growth under AGOA.
But Museveni believes Uganda can do without AGOA.
“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,” he said.
Through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the US government is the world’s largest contributor to international efforts to fight HIV.
In Uganda, 1.4 million people were living with HIV in 2021. The adult prevalence rate stood at 5.2% and 1.2 million people were on antiretroviral treatment.
New infections stood at 54 000, with 17 000 Aids-related deaths.
One of the warnings made to Uganda over its anti-LGBTQI law was that the US and its partners would withdraw support for Uganda’s fight against HIV.
Museveni said he was happy that the US had not cut its support for the fight against HIV.
But in the event that the US did do this, there was a contingency plan in place.
“It is good that the American government avoided the mistake of de-funding the procurement of HIV drugs for our 1.4 million people on those drugs. However, all our people on the ARVs and all the Ugandans need to know that we had a contingency plan to fully fund the procurement of those drugs if ever the external funders were unable to fund them,” he said.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
Source link : https://www.news24.com/news24/africa/news/the-us-can-keep-its-agoa-status-says-ugandas-museveni-but-its-hiv-money-is-still-welcome-20231106
Publish date : 2023-11-06 13:14:38