The United States will exclude 4 African countries from the trade program The United States will exclude 4 African countries from the trade program

The United States will exclude 4 African countries from the trade program

The United States will exclude 4 African countries from the trade program

US President Joe Biden has declared his intention to end the participation of Gabon, Niger, Uganda and the Central African Republic in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program.

Monday's announcement comes in response to what President Biden calls "gross violations" of internationally recognized human rights by the Central African Republic and Uganda. Furthermore, he cited the inability of Niger and Gabon to establish or make consistent progress in safeguarding political pluralism and the rule of law.

In a letter to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, President Biden said: “Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address US concerns about their situation. non-compliance with AGOA eligibility criteria. » This decision is expected to take effect on January 1, 2024, when the designation of these countries as sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries under AGOA will end.

President Biden also expressed his commitment to continually evaluate whether these countries meet the program's eligibility criteria. AGOA, launched in 2000, offers eligible countries the privilege of duty-free access to the U.S. market for their exports. Although the program is set to expire in September 2025, discussions are already underway about whether to extend it and how long a possible extension would last.

African governments and industry groups are advocating for an early 10-year extension of AGOA without changes, aiming to provide assurance to businesses and potential investors concerned about AGOA's future.

Tunisia: five men involved in “terrorist” attacks escape from prison

Five individuals, imprisoned for their involvement in "terrorist" attacks and considered "dangerous", escaped from Tunisia's largest prison, the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday.

“The administration of Mornaguia prison (near Tunis) reported that five dangerous individuals, facing prison sentences linked to terrorist cases, escaped from the prison at dawn,” said the ministry, which revealed their identities and photos.

Among the fugitives is Ahmed Melki, 44, nicknamed “the Somali” and involved in the assassination of political opponents.

Arrested in 2014, he was sentenced in 2017 to 24 years in prison for his involvement in the murder, on February 6, 2013 in Tunis, of left-wing opponent Chokri BelaΓ―d.

The assassination, which shocked Tunisian public opinion, triggered a serious political crisis which forced the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party to cede the power it had held since the Democratic Revolution of 2011 to a government of technocrats.

The investigation into the assassination of Mr. BelaΓ―d and that of left-wing MP Mohamed Brahmi on July 25, 2013 is still not completed, 10 years after the events. The two men opposed the policies of Ennahdha, then the dominant party in Parliament and the government.

Given the dangerous nature of the individuals sought, the ministry indicated that it had “raised awareness” among all its units to “intensify the search with a view to arresting them as quickly as possible.” The ministry also called on “all citizens” to report to the police any information likely to help them be found.

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