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Trump’s Vision of US-Africa Relationship
Trump’s Vision of US-Africa Relationship

By - Jamel Lahiani

Posted - 29-08-2019

The Trump project “America first” aimed to strengthen economic power of the US around the world. Thus, the US has used trade policy and the international development policy to achieve this objective. Since studies emphasize on Africa as emergent market attracting huge FDI and considered as important consumers market, the US president Donald Trump announced on December 13, 2018

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“We hope to extend our economic partnerships with countries that are committed to self-reliance and to fostering opportunities for job creation in both Africa and the United States”

These proposals was explained by U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton who outlined a set of business-driven initiatives, which he called “Prosper Africa” a bilateral development assistance policies initiated by President Barak Obama

The official launch of the Trump Administration’s “Prosper Africa” program at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Mozambique on June 19, 2019 comes after months of the announcement of the program. It is looking for the opportunities of closer economic ties development between the United States and Africa. Prosper Africa represents a step forward in U.S.-Africa trade and investment relations. According to Bolton, “We want our economic partners in the region to thrive, prosper, and control their own destinies. In America’s economic dealings, we ask only for reciprocity, never for subservience.” The program aims to promote prosperity, security, and stability in U.S.-Africa relations, and confirms the administration’s prioritization of trade and investment.

The “Prosper Africa” program focused on three priorities:

  • Enhancing U.S. trade and commercial ties with African nations through arrangements that benefit both the United States and Africa.
  • Countering the terrorism and instability in Africans countries.
  • Ensuring that the U.S. allocates its foreign assistance efficiently and effectively to advance U.S. interests.

The final objective of the program is to double two-way trade and investment. It includes a special focus on transparent markets and private enterprise as the foundations of economic growth and job creation. According to Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Kelly, Prosper Africa has three coordinated lines of effort:

  • Synchronizing the initiatives and capabilities of government agencies,
  • Modernizing and coordinating those agencies’ resources to help companies identify business opportunities in African markets
  • Building African capacity through private sector strengthening. According to the administration, the presidential initiative will operate in conjunction with the new U.S. International Development Finance Corp, which has already announced that it plans to double its investment in low-income countries and the Access Africa initiative, which focuses on boosting U.S.-African partnerships in developing sub-Saharan Africa’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.

In his remarks, Bolton initially posed the administration’s Africa strategy to direct counter Chinese and Russian “predatory practices” and influence on the continent. Bolton asked Africans countries to cooperate with the US program.

Really the US has right to be concerned about Chinese investment in Africa. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, more than 10,000 Chinese companies now do business on the continent, earning approximately $180 billion each year. Although the United States still has more foreign direct investment stock in Africa, Chinese investment in the region is growing fast. In 2009, China overtook the United States to become Africa’s biggest trading partner. China’s success in doing business on the continent has been driven by its high and diverse financial flows (a complex mix of concessional loans, grants, aid, market loans, etc.) to Africa: Investment from China rose twofold between 2010 and 2016. President Xi Jinping committed an additional $60 billion in broad and diverse financing—including $10 billion reserved for Chinese buying of African goods, as well as concessional loans. The High-level Chinese officials, especially Xi, have pushed for strong diplomatic relationships with African leaders but President Trump has yet to make an official state visit to any African country.

China is the largest trading partner of several African countries particularly resource- rich countries like South Sudan, Angola, Eritrea and Gambia. The total volume of trade between China and Africa exceeds $200 billion. The “One Belt, One Road” initiative achieved successful partnerships with African countries. The US finds to be disadvantaged because many African countries have signed a multilateral Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union. However the US is looking for unfair bilateral agreement between a strong and poor country.

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Only fair multilateral trading deals could drive companies for beneficial investment. This could put African countries and the US on a path toward long-term partnership. The president Donald Trump has to visit Africa to erase the racist remarks and established a friendship with the African continent.


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