President Museveni Derides US for Withdrawing Uganda's Preferential Trade Access
Last week, Washington suspended Uganda, along with three other African countries, from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preferential trade program, citing alleged "gross violations" of human rights in connection with an anti-LGBTQ law passed in the East African nation in May.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that the US government has overestimated its value to the East African nation, following Washington's decision to exclude Uganda from a major trade pact.
The president urged citizens not to be "overly concerned" about the US government's actions, noting that African nations can keep moving without help from the West.
"Some of these actors in the Western World overestimate themselves and underestimate the freedom fighters of Africa. On [the] account of some of the freedom fighters making mistakes of philosophy, ideology and strategy, some of the foreign actors, erroneously think that African countries cannot move forward without their support," Museveni wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
According to the leader, Uganda has the scope to achieve the goals of growth and transformation without the support of "some actors". Such options include patriotism, private sector support, economic infrastructure development, regional integration, working with foreigners "who respect us," eradicating corruption, developing social infrastructure and protecting the environment, Museveni said.
The AGOA program, from which the US excluded Uganda last week, was enacted in 2000 during Bill Clinton's presidency. Its goal is to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation between the US and "eligible" sub-Saharan African countries.
Along with Uganda, the Central African Republic was removed
from the program "for human rights violations," as were post-coup Niger and Gabon.
Earlier this year, the World Bank said in its report on uncertainty in preferential trade agreements that non-reciprocal trade agreements such as AGOA pose a significant risk
to developing countries because of the potential for abrupt suspension.
'Homosexuals in the US' Lobbying Anti-Ugandan Economic Measures
Uganda has been criticized by Western nations and organizations after Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 in late May that criminalizes same-sex relationships and provides for the death penalty for certain crimes, such as engaging in homosexual acts with a minor child.
The bill, which authorities say is meant to protect the country's cultural, religious and family values, prompted the World Bank to suspend loans to Uganda and Washington to impose sanctions on Ugandan officials linked to the law.
In response, the Ugandan president called some Western actors
, including the lender, "insufferable" and noted that foreign loans are not a "decisive" element in the implementation of the country's socio-economic program.
In addition, Museveni later accused
"homosexuals in the US" of hindering textile exports from the country after several US clothing manufacturers stopped buying Ugandan raw materials because of the anti-LGBT law.
"The homosexuals in the US are interfering with our export of textiles. Some of the orders have been cancelled by the homosexuals there," the president underlined.