U.S.-Africa policies are likely to remain focused on combating China’s influence, and fighting terrorism, regardless of who wins the Oval Office in the November 3 US election.
U.S. citizens will decide to give President Donald Trump a second term in office, or to lead Joe Biden, the former vice president of Barack Obama.
President Trump has indicated the reduction of the US military presence in Africa, changed the budget allocation to humanitarian programs and tightened visa requirements for most citizens of African countries.
Foreign policy and international trade experts say the US will continue to watch China even if the Democrats win the White House. The US is also likely to maintain its momentum to combat terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, including acting indirectly to support partners in the region.
Hassan Khannenje, director of the HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies in Nairobi, told The EastAfrican that concerns over relations with China exceeded party boundaries, and that US could fuel targeted policies around a continent considered strategic and a traditional Washington ally, to win back.
“For Trump, the fight against China, the fight against terrorism and the cessation of bilateral trade agreements have been at the heart of US-Africa policy. However, rhetoric has not been supported by actual action beyond attempts to bring about bilateral trade deals,” he said. . .
“If Biden wins, the US, while trying to counter China and fight terrorism, can restore democracy and security at the heart of US-Africa policy.”
Whichever party wins, he said, will maintain funding support for programs such as health care that have delayed the Trump administration by reducing funding in successive years.
Whether President Trump wins or not, analysts at the South African Institute for Security Studies (ISS) say the US should change its policy on Africa and see it as a worthy continent, not just a collection of countries in an arm region not.
“Respect will greatly help to rekindle relations between America and Africa if Biden is elected. American foreign policy is and will continue to be guided by a strong realistic view based on the assurance of ‘national security’ and the pursuit of “National interests”. So much will not change, whether it is a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, “ISS analysts wrote in a bulletin before the US election.
The focus on American ‘national interest’ is questionable when it comes to who favors African countries between Republicans and Democrats. Former Republican President George W. Bush launched the controversial war on terror, but he also launched the Africa Growth Opportunity Act, which allowed privileged exports from developing African countries to the US market.
Mr. Bush also launched the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) and provided millions of dollars to support health programs in Africa. Both programs were subsequently supported by the subsequent (Democratic) Obama administration.
President Trump passed a law that changed the Overseas Private Investment Corporation into the US Development Finance Corporation, which doubled its funding to $ 60 billion to target private sector investments in Africa. This is seen as a contradictory move towards China’s rising investments and connections on the continent.
Victoria Whitney, chief operating officer of the Prosper Africa Initiative, one of the Trump administration’s programs to improve affairs in Africa, said at a virtual press conference that the US would expand business ties in Africa to bring about “two-way” investment. .
“We are committed to supporting small and medium-sized African businesses,” she said.
In October, the US launched a new Investment Finance Corporation-Prosper Africa investment unit to ‘help drive even more US investment in Africa’, starting in early 2021.
Officials in Washington say focusing on trade is the best assurance for sustainable development.