On Tuesday the 3rd of November, Americans will queue up to elect their 46th President. President Donald Trump is hoping to secure a second term in office. His rival and former vice president, Joe Biden is also aiming to cause a major upset. The Republican and Democratic candidates have been on each other’s nerves. The presidential debate highlights the bad blood existing between the candidates of both parties.
President Donald Trump is one of the most controversial presidents in the history of the United States. His policies on Africa are even more controversial. Some of Trump’s policies in Africa are highly commendable. However, there are others that attracted criticism. But, does his good outweigh the bad? Scanning through these policies will help us to predict what a Trump second term will mean for Africa.
Good Africa-centric policies enacted by President Donald Trump
One of the initiatives under President Donald Trump is the Prosper Africa initiative. This initiative assists American companies that want to do business in Africa.
Also, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act doubled the investment limit under Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) from $29 billion to $60 billion under U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Besides financial support, President Donald Trump’s administration has fostered African unity in different ways.
President Donald Trump’s administration backs the initiative to end the civil war in Cameroon. The administration was also instrumental in the ouster of Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo in early 2019. Under Trump’s administration, America is extending a helping hand to end insurgency in Nigeria.
Perhaps, the impact of the United State in Africa is more visible in some countries than others. In Ethiopia, for example, the U.S. government is assisting the country with $8 million to fight the locust outbreak. Also, hundreds of potential investors were brought together in 2019 at the State Department for the Ethiopia Partnership Forum. Citibank and FedEx are also exploring opportunities in Ethiopia. President Donald Trump is currently mediating between the controversy between Ethiopia and Egypt arising from the Nile River dam.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The U.S. was instrumental in the containment of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. Also, General Energy is proposing a multi-billion dollar investment in DRC hydro and gas power. The United States is also backing President Felix Tshisekedi’s drive to end corruption in the country.
President Donald Trump’s administration played a major role in the formation of a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan following the ouster of former President Bashir. The United States is currently working on delisting Sudan as a government sponsor of terrorism. Currently, Sudan has agreed to normalize ties with Israel.
There are several other interventions of the United States across different African countries. This includes Cameroon, Senegal, and Niger.
The bad and ugly
The most criticized policy enacted by President Donald Trump’s administration is the travel ban on about six African countries. Also, Trump’s administration has made it more difficult for migrants from African countries to enter the United States. In his first term, Trump has met with only two African presidents in the Oval Office. This is far less than his predecessors.
President Donald Trump’s administration has also proposed a cut in foreign aid programs—which Africa is a huge beneficiary. There are also lots of racist comments on Africa credited to President Trump. Reacting to Trump’s economic policy on Africa, Grant Harris who was once senior policy adviser to former President Barack Obama said,
“There is an enormous problem with how this administration framed Africa policy vis-a-vis China. They framed Africa as a pawn in a great game, as if it’s something to be lost or won, that Africans don’t have agency, and there is no intrinsic value otherwise to strong relations with African states or engaging Africa as an important region of increasing political and economic weight globally.”
Continuous berating of Africans and African leaders by President Donald Trump
Perhaps, the main reason why President Donald Trump keeps African leaders at bay is that he thinks they are unintelligent. Michael Cohen, a former lawyer to the president highlights President Trump’s racist remarks against Africa in his book, ‘Disloyal: A Memoir’. We all know that Nelson Mandela is one of the leaders Africa holds in high esteem. In fact, after his death in 2013, he received global acclaim for his fight against racism in South Africa. However, Cohen explains that Trump incessantly berates Mandela. According to Cohen, President Donald Trump said,
“Mandela f—ed the whole country up. Now it’s a s—hole. F— Mandela. He was no leader.”
Cohen describes Trump’s hatred of Obama as obsessive. However, Cohen was jailed last year for electoral financial crimes and lying to congress. But, does this take away the credibility of his testimony against his former boss? The White House has also hit back saying,
“ a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it’s unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies.”
What will President Donald Trump’s second tenure mean for Africa?
Obviously, Trump’s major concern is strengthening the economy of the United States. Therefore, every other continent remains secondary. He is unwavering in his belief and this is highlighted again in the presidential debate. Will Trump’s relationship with Africa change perchance he gets a second term in office? Perhaps not!
One thing is certain, irrespective of who sits in the White House, African leaders need to start thinking about Africa beyond foreign aids. The world will start taking Africa seriously when they become economically strong. What is your view on this? We would love to hear from you.
Africans share their view on the topic
We shared this post on different Facebook groups. The reaction was overwhelming with many people having diverging views. Her are some of the comments that caught our attention.