President Barack Obama announced Friday that Burundi will be ejected from a pact offering African nations much-desired US market access, after the country’s president grabbed a third term in office.
In a notification to Congress, Obama said he had taken the step in response to a “continuing crackdown on opposition members, which has included assassinations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.”
The measure will take effect in January.
Burundi has been convulsed by violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversially, secured a third term in office earlier this year.
Opponents said his re-election breached the terms of a peace deal that paved the way to ending a 13-year civil war in 2006.
Some 200 people have been killed since violence first broke out in April.
The UN has warned that Burundi risks sliding back into civil war after a dramatic rise in killings, arrests and detentions, with over 200,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries.
AGOA — the African Growth and Opportunity Act — was created more than a decade ago to help boost exports from the poorest African nations.
While Burundi’s exports to the US a minimal, valued at just several million dollars, any disruption would be significant for an economy already forecast by the IMF to contract by 7.2 percent this year.
The European Union, a major trading partner and aid donor to the country, has threatened sanctions over rights violations.