What does the Trump Presidency mean for Africa?

Donald Trump has entered the White House having promised throughout his campaign to severely change United States foreign policy. Through his pledge to “Make America Great Again”, President Trumps foreign policy promises included, withdrawing from and renegotiating trade deals and creating an America First Foreign Policy in which ISIS will be defeated and the military will be rebuilt.In his first week in office against a background of protest, Donald Trump has started to deliver on his promises through numerous executive orders on issues such as immigration and trade.

With regard to Africa, the United states has for a long time provided support for the continent through aid programmes intended to boost economic growth, conflict prevention and prevention of violent extremism to reduce political instability that threatens U.S national security. Having clearly demonstrated in his first week that he intends to deliver on his promises to change the manner in which America engages with the rest of the world, it remains to be seen what this presidency will mean for U.S-Africa relations.

For some, this new presidency is a chance for the U.S to advance its security and economic interests with the world’s fastest growing continent. The Trump administration can take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity by prioritising key issues of interest to the U.S particularly combating terrorism, supporting Africa’s economic progress and promoting democracy and strong governance. With the U.S economic presence in Africa reducing and China filling this void, the Trump administration could reassert itself in Africa.

African’s have expressed worry about the implications the Trump presidency will have on their different countries. In Uganda, where the U.S government provides $700 million in aid to support health programmes, the worry is that this aid will be reduced. The worry for Somalians and Kenyans who are illegal immigrants in the U.S is deportation. Trump’s recently announced travel ban on individuals from 7 countries including Somalia leaves Somalians and individuals seeking refuge in the U.S in limbo. The vagueness of this ban means that not only refugees but visa holders, non U.S dual citizens and legal residents of the U.S are barred from travelling to the U.S or ordered to leave the country.

Trumps rhetoric of “Making America Great Again” favours protectionism therefore with the current administration the U.S might not be heavily involved in Africa. Trump might however surprise critics by challenging China’s growing economic presence in Africa to reassert U.S global dominance.


Featured image | Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally | Gage Skidmore | flickr

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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