Uganda president claims Africa can grow without Western aid amid removal from US trade agreement

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday advised Ugandans not to be overly concerned about US President Joe Biden removing Uganda from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He stated that Africa has the capacity to grow without Western aid and that Western actors overestimate themselves.

The AGOA is a major trade agreement that provides eligible African countries with duty-free access to the US market. US President Joe Biden announced last week that the US will be removing Uganda from the AGOA as the country had breached the eligibility requirements stipulated in section 104 of the AGOA and committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

In response to Uganda’s expulsion from the AGOA, Museveni espoused that the removal of Uganda from the AGOA would not obstruct the country’s growth and development. He wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

Some of these actors in the Western World overestimate themselves and underestimate the freedom fighters of Africa. On 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 … 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.

Biden previously said in May of this year that the US would consider sanctioning Uganda upon the country’s enactment of its controversial Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. He stated that the act “is a tragic violation of universal human rights” and the “latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda.”

In 2022, Executive Director of Uganda’s National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) Stephen Okello announced that the NGO Bureau had ceased the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda, an LGBTQ+ NGO. Okello alleged that SMUG had operated illegally as it was not registered with the NGO Bureau or the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.