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US cuts off Burkina Faso from Africa duty-free trade programme

| Updated: January 04, 2023 19:30:09


Ivorian police officers are seen by the entrance of Pullman Hotel during the opening session of the 18th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo Ivorian police officers are seen by the entrance of Pullman Hotel during the opening session of the 18th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

The United States has dropped Burkina Faso from the AGOA trade preference programme for failing to meet the requirements of the AGOA statute, the US Trade Representative's (USTR) office said in a statement on Sunday.

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned by the unconstitutional change" in government in Burkina Faso, according to the statement.

Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest countries, is in the grips of an Islamist insurgency, in which militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have killed thousands of civilians and created one of the continent's fastest-growing humanitarian crises.

The US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the United States if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to US trade and investment and making progress toward political pluralism.

Burkina Faso will be given "clear benchmarks" for a pathway toward reinstatement to the trade programme USTR's office said, adding that the Biden administration would work with the Burkinabe government.

Frustrations over growing insecurity spurred two coups in Burkina Faso in 2022. Both the previous and current juntas have made efforts to beef up security and stem the insurgency, but attacks have continued.

Nearly two million people have been displaced and reside in makeshift camps, many run by the United Nations, that dot the arid countryside.

Just before Christmas, Burkina Faso's military government ordered a senior United Nations official to leave the country, a decision that was contested by the UN Although the government did not give a reason at the time of the order, its foreign minister later accused the official, Barbara Manzi, of painting a negative picture of the security situation in the country.

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