The US Government announced on October 30th that the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, Niger, and Uganda will be removed from the list of 35 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries that are eligible for market access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The announcement came on the eve of the 20th AGOA Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the 2nd to 4th of November 2023. According to the US Government, CAR and Uganda have engaged in gross violations of internationally recognised human rights. This paper reflects on the decision, which is not the first by the Biden administration in the last few years. This paper argues that the recent decision by the US is an example of developed countries using trade incentives and sanctions to achieve their geopolitical interests in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) under the pretext of promoting human rights standards.
Although practically difficult to achieve, a World Trade Court or this sort may also remove the feeling of guilt from African officials when dragging their fellows to a regional trade dispute settlement forum. Understandably, the political tensions among the AMU states concerning the Western Sahara, which has paralyzed the organization for decades now, may have prevented them from attempting to solve the matter intra-regionally.