U.S. restores recovering Mali to privileged partner status

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 23, 2013 19:25 EDT
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A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Bamako during the second round of parliamentary elections on Dec. 15, 2013. [AFP]
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The United States has restored privileged partner status to Mali as reward for the strife-torn country’s gradual return to democracy, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

The decision was revealed in the annual revisions to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which takes into account improvements or setbacks to democracy in African countries included in the program.

AGOA was launched by Congress in 2000, and establishes a program of economic and commercial cooperation with Africa up until 2015.

The agreement facilitates African exports for the US market to support developing economies.

The return of Mali to the list of countries benefiting from the program comes after a tumultuous year including elections to return civilian rule after a military coup in early 2012 which saw the north of the country fall into the hands of militant Islamists.

Washington, which has consistently called for the re-establishment of the democratic process in the country, last week praised the second round of legislative elections in the country.

The AGOA list is revised each year. US President Barack Obama removed Mali from the privileged status list following the coup and took similar action against Guinea-Bissau.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
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