Cameroon resumed talks with the United States to join the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) program after it was expelled in 2019 for alleged human rights abuses by its security forces.
The decision to return to Washington’s flagship trade initiative is aimed at averting a possible debt crisis, Economy Minister Alamine Ousmane Mey said on Monday.
Speaking at an Atlantic Council think tank event on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings in Washington, Mey said Yaoundé plans to improve its service coverage. debt by increasing exports.
“We strive to improve our exports through import substitution policies to reduce imports, produce more and export more. This will give us more flexibility for debt service coverage,” he said.
AGOA provides duty-free access to the US market for eligible African countries.
The IMF has classified Cameroon’s economy as being at high risk of debt distress. The country’s economic growth has increased from 0.5% in 2020 to an expected 4.3% in 2023.
Cameroon was suspended from AGOA in 2019 by former US President Donald Trump over allegations of “gross and persistent violations of internationally recognized human rightsby the country’s security forces.
According to Mey, the Cameroonian government hopes to resolve all questions and issues raised during talks with US officials to join AGOA”in a very transparent and open way.”
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