Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Congo Removed from AGOA List

President Barack Obama removed the Democratic Republic of Congo from the list of African countries eligible for trade preferences under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA went into law in 2000 and will expire in 2015. The decision was taken during the annual review of AGOA. "Large-scale human rights abuses by the Congolese armed forces, especially rapes" and the lack of advances made in good governance were reasons for removing the Congo from the list.

FOTC is fascinated by the difference in treatment between Congo and Rwanda. Both countries have AGOA status. Rwanda has invaded Congo twice; supports proxy rebel groups inside Congo; has systematically looted Congo's resources; and according to the United Nations Mapping Exercise Report, the Rwandan military has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide in the Congo. Yet, the United States has taken no action whatsoever against Rwanda in spite of millions of dead Congolese due in large part to Rwanda's destabilizing of the Congo.

The decision will take effect January 1, 2011. This decision is yet another sign of the conflicted relationship between the Obama administration and President Joseph Kabila's Congo. The IMF and World Bank has proceeded with debt relief and the funding of the Congolese government in spite of the lack of progress on governance on the part of President Kabila. With elections upcoming in 2011, look for more pressure on Kabila to assure a transparent and free elections.

Click here to view official statement from White House.


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