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Opinions of Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Columnist: King David Dzirasah

A new Africa-USA relations under President Donald Trump

Africa-USA relations have never been a static symbiotic relationship since time in memorial. Depending on the party or president in power, USA had related with Africa differently at different point in time. Now there is a new president in charge of the USA. President Trump has brought a new perspective to governance in
USA. His administration largely seeks to restore the economic and political integrity of USA. This demands that a new relation be forged between the USA and Africa.

Historically USA has tried to facilitate the socioeconomic and political development of Africa by providing loans, grants, aids and other forms of support to African countries. This has substantially contributed to the development of Africa. However, it has also led to the breeding of corruption among African elites who callously loots the financial resources given by US taxpayers to African Nations.

President trump’s administration must demand accountability from African nations as to how they used financial supports given them in the past. The president must go beyond this by withdrawing grants and aids to African countries that have wasted money of US taxpayers through corruption. In the long term, President Trump’s administration must make a conscious effort in building the capacity of African countries. African nations would not develop to the level expected of
them if they continue to be Aid dependent. Hence the President must work to empower African leaders to a level where they can develop their countries without external support.

Democracy in Africa must also be of great importance to President Trump’s administration. Predecessors of President Trump used various measures to ensure that democracy is achieved and sustained in Africa. Some of the measures involve covert military operations which have had disastrous consequences for some African nations. The most recent example is the overthrow of Gadhafi’s regime in Libya by former President Obama in 2011. This has led to the absolute collapse of
Libya. Going forward, President Trump must not do business as usual.

He must avoid using covert military operations as solution to taking out dictatorial regimes in Africa. His government must first of all empower citizens of countries under dictatorial regimes in Africa so as to enable them to change their governance system on their own. Secondly the President must initiate positive engagement with dictatorial regimes with the aim of convincing them to let their respective countries to transition into democratic states.

President trump needs to support Africa’s quest to have a permanent seat in the UN’s Security Council. Historically, the African continent and its people have been exploited by colonial imperialist. This has weakened the socioeconomic and political clout of the continent.

Africa as a continent has mostly been voiceless when it comes to major security decisions that have been made at the international level. President Trump must strongly advocate for South Africa to be given a permanent sit as a representative of Africa in UN’s Security Council.

Conclusively, since the inauguration of President Trump as the President of the US, little has been heard concerning his policy on Africa. It is imperative for President Trump to make known to both citizens of the US and Africa what his policy direction is as far as Africa is concerned. This would ensure that a new dynamism is brought into US-Africa relation.