U.S Policy for Africa
By Paul Ndiho
In December 2018, the administration of U.S president Donald trump unveiled a new U.S.-Africa policy focused on combating what they say are the “predatory” practices of China and Russia.
The United States has a new U.S.-Africa strategy, as announced in December by National Security Adviser, John Bolton. The announcement came during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think-tank based in Washington, D.C. that IS primarily geared towards public policy.
Bolton set the tone for the administration where he challenged African governments to choose the United States over China and Russia for their commercial, security, and political relationships.
“Under our new Africa strategy, we will target U.S. funding toward key countries decades and particular strategic objectives. All U.S. aid on the continent will advance U.S. interests, and help African nations move toward self-reliance.”
President Trump’s critics say noticeably absent from the new plan is any “commitment to Democratic governance and leadership on the African continent which is among the leading priorities for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019, according to a study published by the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. Brahima Coulibary, a Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution explains.
“I believe that the U.S. has a solid foundation and a strong legacy in Africa, through the success of its past programs and actions on the continent, on which to build. Without more proactive approaches, however, the U.S. risks falling further behind on this vastly important and strategic continent. Ultimately, the future of U.S.-Africa relations will be determined more by U.S. policies and actions (or lack thereof) toward Africa, than those of other countries toward Africa.”
Despite the criticism, the U.S. administration says it’s on course to engage with Africa. Last week, U.S Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, welcomed newly-elected President Felix Tshisekedi, of the Democratic Republic Congo to Washington. They discussed the future of U.S.-D-R-C relations and expressed their shared interest in partnering to deliver a better and more prosperous future for the Congolese people.
Relief and excitement spread through Liberian communities across the United States last month after President Trump issued an executive order extending the deadline of the Deferred Enforced Departure program for 4,000 Liberians living in America to March 30, 2020.
The White House also announced that the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump would visit Ethiopia and Ivory Coast over four days this month for a women’s economic empowerment summit in Ivory Coast. Led by his daughter, In February president Trump signed the women’s global development and prosperity initiative, which focuses on advancing female participation in the global economy.
In October 2018, U.S First Lady Melania Trump wrapped up her first visit to Africa that highlighted child welfare and promoted the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development on the continent. Her four-nation tour included stops in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt.
In his first meeting at the White House with a sub-Saharan African leader, President Trump held talks last year with Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, The leaders reaffirmed and strengthened their commitment to fighting terrorism and violent extremists.
President Trump also met last year with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House FOR talks on security and trade. The two leaders signed agreements that will see American companies invest IN $238 million worth of projects in the east African nation.
Political observers say the United States should be motivated to engage with African countries for the same reasons as China and Russia: Africa’s economic and political clout is growing rapidly — and the continent boasts a young, burgeoning population, which, by 2050, will make up 25 percent of the world’s people and workforce.