Nairobi – From climate to human rights, how Joe Biden’s appointment as US president will affect Africa’s 1.3 billion people
According to academics and analysts, Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election will affect the 1.3 million people in Africa on issues ranging from climate change and immigration to women’s health and human rights.
Under the Trump administration, the United States has reached the Paris climate agreement, issued a travel ban on Muslim-majority nations, and cut aid to charities that provide reproductive health services that include abortion advice.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation has asked activists, academics and analysts how a Biden government could influence Africa’s 54 countries.
DAVID CODE, HEAD OF ADVOCATION, CIVICUS
‘Civil society groups in Africa have observed how President Trump’s attacks on the media and his violent retaliation from Black Lives Matter protests show similar tendencies of Africa’s worst authoritarian leaders.
A Biden presidency will certainly be a welcome relief for Africa, as civil society can rely on a Biden government to denounce African leaders who violate the rights of their people and put pressure on them to to uphold international law.
It would be a practical way for the United States to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council, which values civil society highly, but authoritarian leaders have continued to do so over the past four years. ‘
NIGEL TRICKS, EAST AFRICA DIRECTOR, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL
“The new US government must give priority to leading global actions to protect millions of people seeking refuge, especially against the African countries plagued by deadly conflict or the devastation of a changing climate.
As African countries continue to take more than their fair share of the global duty to welcome women, children and men fleeing their homes, the wider international community – led by the United States – does not agree with their efforts.
We would like to see the US government take the lead in ensuring that these host countries have the necessary financial support to house the millions of refugees, as well as the political involvement that can lead to more sustainable solutions that help people save their lives. ‘
VICTOR RASUGU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK FOR ADOLESCENT AND YOUTH OF AFRICA
‘The United States is the largest donor to family planning in the world and therefore plays an important role in reproductive health care in Kenya.
Trump’s (so-called) global gag rule was and still is an attack on the reproductive health and rights of women. The decision deprived individuals, especially women of reproductive age, of the right to bodily autonomy.
A victory for Joe Biden brings back hope and common sense in the management of healthcare systems … Countries like Kenya will once again be free to provide the reproductive health continuity of care to the population without being swept into a certain policy direction not. ‘
AISSATOU DIOUF, WEST AFRICA COORDINATOR, CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK
“The Trump administration has refused to act to mitigate the effects of climate change, and has blocked international climate negotiations for ambitious climate action.
Donald Trump’s decision to withhold $ 2 billion from the $ 3 billion promised by its predecessor has contributed to a huge shortfall in the Green Climate Fund – a contribution that countries most affected by climate change, such as African countries, would enable them to pursue policies to strengthen the resilience of their leading communities.
A Biden administration will need to take the lead on climate change and make climate change a global priority. We expect the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement, increase its efforts and contribute to the Green Climate Fund. ‘
ISA SANUSI, SPOKESMAN, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
‘President Donald Trump’s extension of the immigration visa ban that includes Nigeria and other countries with vulnerable populations fleeing persecution was unacceptable.
The ban is discriminatory – and with it the United States sets a dangerous precedent. It has closed the door for people fleeing persecution and also for those seeking new opportunities.
The application of the ban to people from selected countries, some of whom are in crisis, is contrary to the values of the United States.
It is our hope that all these discriminatory measures will be removed and that more migrant-friendly policies will be put in place. ‘