Two members of Uganda's parliament have remained locked up for almost eight months as President Yoweri Museveni takes a hard stance against granting ... bail to defendants in one of his latest ploys to curb the opposition.
On 13 March, Côte d’Ivoire’s prime minister Patrick Achi was in the US, following an invitation from the Atlantic Council think tank, which advocates US leadership in the world. According to our information, US secretary of state Antony Blinken met with him on the 14th. One of their main topics of conversation was the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a programme that should enable Côte d’Ivoire to receive a $524.7m grant – which was accorded in 2019, but still has not been disbursed.
Threat of embargo
Achi managed the MCC project when he was the presidency’s secretary-general. This meeting was expected to revive the programme, which has been slowed down by the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, Washington also believes that Abidjan still needs to improve its performance regarding certain governance indicators.
Another topic of discussion was the threat of an embargo on Ivorian cocoa beans, the leading import to the US.
US NGOs have documented that multinationals operating in the country did not comply with certain standards, particularly with regard to child labour and forest protection.
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Abidjan wants to attract more US investment to the country, with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) also part of discussions.
Monitoring and information gathering
Côte d’Ivoire, which voted for the UN resolution condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, will also negotiate US support for the fight against terrorism in the northern part of the country. Although Washington is already involved in this effort, training Ivorian forces, Abidjan wants logistical support in surveillance and information gathering, as the US provides for Operation Barkhane.
The US expects more transparency when it comes to business, reforming the justice system and promoting human rights, particularly for LGBT people.
The US visit of Achi and his delegation – composed of Mamadou Haidara, diplomatic adviser to Alassane Ouattara and former ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire, ministers Souleymane Diarrassouba (trade and industry) and Emmanuel Esmel Essis (investments) – will also involve meetings with US businessmen.
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