Some pointed questions raised by the Trump team as they prepare to take control of America’s affairs is confirming fears on how a Trump administration will relate with Africa.
During Donald Trump’s campaign, he had let loose some statements about Africa that prompted the belief that Africa would have to be self-sufficient from America if Trump were to win the election.
Donald Trump has won the elections and his inauguration is just around the corner but although he has relented on some views he shared during campaign season, it would seem that his view on American aid in Africa remains mostly unchanged.
The contents of a questionnaire that the Trump team sent to the US State Department was published on Friday by the New York Times. In it there were some pertinent questions raised that serve as a pointer to President-elect Trump’s attitude to Africa as he stands on the brink of being sworn in.
The first question in the questionnaire related to Africa was on Al-Shabaab. The Trump team asks; “We’ve been fighting al-Shabaab for a decade, why haven’t we won?”
We will just go ahead and list the rest of the queries below;
- How does US business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese?
- With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the US?
- Most of Agoa (African Growth and Opportunity Act) imports are petroleum products, with the benefits going to national oil companies. Why do we support that massive benefit to corrupt regimes?
- We’ve been hunting [Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group leader Joseph] Kony for years, is it worth the effort?” the document poses. “The LRA has never attacked US interests, why do we care? Is it worth the huge cash outlays? … Even the Ugandans are looking to stop searching for him, since they no longer view him as a threat, so why do we?
- How… do we prevent the next Ebola outbreak from hitting the US?
What the questions show is that the Trump team is not looking to continue giving aid to Africa without appropriate guarantees. Instead, they seem to be edging toward a more business directed approach where every investment in Africa must serve American interests directly.
If the questions translate to policy then Africa can expect a decline in the amount of money that the Trump team will give to Africa as aid. Probably the biggest drawback of the questions translating to policy would be the retraction of America’s help in fighting al-Shabaab. The US has been involved in many efforts to defeat the group that has included launching drone attacks to kill some prominent figures in it.
Of course, such questionnaires are not uncommon when a new administration is charting its course and the questions are not necessarily guaranteed to turn into actionable policies but African governments would do well to begin developing business structures within their borders that will attract investment rather than relying on aid.