The White House announced on Wednesday (November 2) that the United States will exclude Burkina Faso from a trade deal linking the world’s greatest power to African nations.
The White House justified the decision with the lack of progress in returning to democracy after the two military coups in the country since the beginning of 2022.
“We made this decision because we realized that the government of Burkina Faso has not made sustainable progress in establishing respect for the rule of law and political pluralism, which are integral parts of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA),” US President Joe Biden said this in a letter to the US Congress.
The letter said that the West African country’s ban would take effect from January 1 next year.
In a statement, US Trade Ambassador Catherine Tay stressed that “Burkina Faso must make the necessary decisions to fulfill the terms of the agreement and restore democracy.”
“I will provide Burkina Faso with a clear roadmap for returning to the program and our management will work with them to make that happen,” Tay said.
Created in 2000, with a list of beneficiary countries is reviewed annually, AGOA is developing economic and trade cooperation with the African continent. It facilitates African exports to the United States to aid economic development.
Under this agreement, thousands of African products can benefit from reduced import duties, as long as conditions related to human rights, good governance or labor protection are met.
Earlier this year, the United States excluded three other countries from the program, namely Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea, also alleging that the actions of these three governments violated the program’s principles.
Burkina Faso has faced increasingly frequent jihadist attacks since 2015, killing thousands and forcing nearly two million people to flee. Burkina Faso has been rocked by two military coups since the beginning of the year.
On 24 January, soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henry Sandaugo Damiba overthrew President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, accused of leniency in the face of the attacks, before being overthrown by Captain Ibrahim Traore on 30 September.