The U.S. President Donald Trump has restored trade benefits with mainland Africa’s smallest country the Gambia, three years after its removal from the AGOA trade deal.
The Gambia lost its eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act after the Barack Obama administration decried the worsening human rights abuses and the deterioration of the rule of law under then-Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
Jammeh was not moved by The Gambia’s AGOA suspension saying the country “has never benefitted from the Act in the first place.” He accused the U.S. of having no good intentions for the Gambia and for trying to end his rule.
“We will not succumb to outside pressures of any kind nor from any source, for, the wellbeing of her people remains paramount for the government of The Gambia,” Jammeh said.
Jammeh was ousted in January after losing elections and refusing to cede power. New President Adama Barrow strengthening the rule of law, ensuring the protection of rights and freedoms and encouraging political pluralism.
Restoring Gambia’s U.S. trade benefits will see small businesses export their goods without paying hefty taxes. The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts.
Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high.
Economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors.