Trump Good for Africa

Aug 31 , 2019
By Hintsa Andebrhan

Politicians, no matter what they did or promised to do, just shine when they stand on a rostrum and deliver a speech. Most of us cannot help ourselves but support and clap for them. The former President of the United States, Barack Obama, is one good example of this. I will not forget the welcoming reaction of Africans when Senator Barack Obama was elected as the first-ever African American president to hold office as the 44th president of the US. The world also welcomed him with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

The Norwegian Noble Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. The President created a new climate in international politics it said in its statement released from Oslo. The Committee endorsed Obama’s statement saying, “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

The speech Obama delivered in Ghana in 2009 and the tour of Africa that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made in the same year raised many expectations of Obama’s administration for Africa. But, after one year in office, it became evident that the Obama administration was essentially following the same policy as the previous one.

It is understandable that the national security strategy of America toward Africa focuses on ensuring America's interest of satisfying its continuing addiction to oil and dealing with the threat posed by Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab and other Islamist extremist groups. But the strategy did not work as it failed to create a partnership with the African people to promote sustainable economic development, democracy and human rights.

Obama’s strategy toward Africa presented China with unexpected opportunity to implement its plan designed to achieve a long-term military, economic and political co-operation with Africa.

Using the American policy and strategy gap toward Africa, the Chinese people's Liberation Army built its first Navy base in Djibouti, a strategic move to influence geopolitical situations in Africa.

China imports 30pc of its crude oil from Africa. And its total trade volume has reached 204.2 billion dollars a year with an annual increase of 19.7pc.

In regards to fighting terrorism, Obama's policy toward Africa failed as Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of Al-Qaida, is still active in the Horn of Africa, bombing innocent Somalians daily.

Africa became the  breeding ground of Islamic terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Libya, and despite investing millions of dollars the Obama administration could not revert Mali's ethnic conflict, the civil war in South Sudan and the Ethio-Eritrean no war, no peace situation.

In 2015 when he visited Ethiopia, Obama said the EPRDF coalition is a “democratically elected government” which made a lot of international human rights organisations unhappy. This is one example of Obama's administration turning a blind eye to extensive human rights abuses for the sake of counter-terrorism co-operation and regional stability.

Trump's unexpected win in the 2016 elections led the international media to echo that the world just started on the road to unknown political territory.  I strongly disagree, because Washington is pushing its “America First” strategy as promised by the Trump campaign, and its policy toward the rest of the world is set to achieve this goal.

Policy specialists point out that under Trump’s administration, Africa’s agenda is not given much attention. Again, I am opposed to this kind of hasty analysis, because the current leadership in Washington has been doing a substantial job.

The peace restored between Eritrea and Ethiopia did not happen out of the blue. The former American Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador Yamamato’s visit to Eritrea in 2018 played a major role in fixing the mess that was created by the Bush and Obama administrations in the Horn, and President Trump’s administration should take the credit for that.

The White House policy toward Africa that was released in 2018 could change the old policy that was based on the aid culture. The national security advisor, John Bolton, said at the time that the new strategy for Africa is organised around three main principles: prosperity, security and stability through foreign aid while ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars are used efficiently.

This strategy provides Africa with a solid opportunity to stand high and tall in global trade and commercial activities, providing permanent economical solutions for the continent. This policy plays a role in ending the aid culture and corrupt administration of the continent. This is an alarm for African leaders to wake up and be dignified politicians and work hard to achieve economic development in the interests of their nations.

The Trump administration’s new policy toward Africa is trying to utilise Africa's human capital to fight poverty and encourage democracy. It also paves the way to design new policies to discover a new platform for young Africans that can help to create new jobs.

From my perspective, the new White House policy is key for Africa's political and economic self-reliance. Africa should stand with Trump.


PUBLISHED ON Aug 31,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1009]

Hintsa Andebrhan is interested in politics and history. He can be reached at

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