What US President-elect Trump means for Africa

Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the world’s most powerful country, and no corner of the globe will be immune from the consequences. Here’s what African can expect:

Donald Trump is the next president of the United States of America. As crazy as it might seem, this is no time for schadenfreude: his election is bad news – very bad news – for Africa too

Donald Trump is the next president of the United States of America. As crazy as it might seem, this is no time for schadenfreude: his election is bad news – very bad news – for Africa too

Goodbye AGOA?

Trump doesn’t like trade deals, especially ones that he thinks are weighted against America. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a prime example: it’s designed to give African countries easier access to US markets by scrapping import duties on certain goods. Non-oil exports from Africa to the US, under the auspices of AGOA, have now reached $4.1 billion, which makes it a vital economic lifeline for the continent.

Chicken farmers aside, South African businesses have been among the major beneficiaries of the trade deal, but how long will a Trump administration maintain this tax-free access to US markets?

The War on Terror redoubled

Under Barack Obama, Africa has become a major frontline in the war on terror. The US military has invested significant resources in both propping up African militaries and establishing a series of military bases across the continent. At the same time, it has expanded its drone program.

This is all in the name of fighting terror, and has been accompanied by the kinds of abuses that we have been accustomed to in the name of the War on Terror: collateral damage, widespread torture, summary executions, unaccountable drone strikes.

Trump is a candidate who has said he will encourage torture, and wants to keep Guantanamo Bay open, so expect these abuses to be intensify under Trump’s administration, with even less thought given to the protection of civilians or human rights.

Good news for Al Shabaab and Boko Haram

“If Donald Trump were elected and implemented the foreign policy he campaigned on, he could become the single most effective recruiting tool for terrorist organisations across the globe,” commented the Institute for Security Studies Zachary Donnenfeld. That’s because Trump’s belligerent, hardline stance – coupled with his rhetorical attacks on Muslims, and pledges to ban Muslims from entering America – plays into the propaganda espoused by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. He is doing their work for them.

His promise of hardline tactics in the War on Terror won’t help, either – studies have repeatedly showed that abuses committed against civilians are likely to push people towards terrorist organisations. This is all good news for the likes of Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Bad news for gay rights

It’s already difficult to be gay in Africa, and life is only likely to get harder under Trump, who is opposed to gay marriage in the US. This stance is likely to embolden African leaders who have persecuted LGBT communities in their own countries, such as Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda. Even South Africa voted this week to scrap a United Nations gay rights watchdog.

The trend in Africa is already negative when it comes to gay rights; a Trump administration certainly won’t try very hard to halt this trend, while his very public stance against gay marriage may even accelerate it.

Slow economic growth

Africa’s economies are already reporting sluggish growth, thanks to a slow global economy and lower commodity prices. Trump’s election looks likely to make this even worse. “We are probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” commented economist Paul Krugman.

What does this mean for Africa? Well, for one thing, the ‘Africa Rising narrative’ is definitively over (not that it was ever accurate in the first place). There will be less investment, less spending, and less Africans escaping the poverty the trap. If anything, expect poverty statistics to rise.

Extensive foreign aid cuts

Trump is not a fan of foreign aid, and America’s extensive aid program is likely to suffer significant cuts. So what, some might say; aid is always a controversial topic, with the jury still very much out on whether it does more harm than good. Nonetheless, in the short term, expect cuts to key infrastructure and healthcare programs across the continent, with no other foreign donors likely to step in to fill gaps.

African civil society organisations are also likely to feel the pinch. Left-leaning US donors provide extensive grants on which African NGOs often rely, but these funds are likely to be redirected internally following this election result.

So much for climate change mitigation

Africa is likely to be the continent most affected by climate change, with huge impacts on water and food security. As this is a crisis that Africa – with the world’s lowest emissions by some distance – didn’t cause, an international effort is required to mitigate the consequences of climate for Africa.

But Donald Trump does not appear to believe in climate change. He has said he will cancel the Paris climate change agreement and cut federal climate change programs, while doubling down on fossil fuels as the centre of America’s energy mix.

This position is likely to result in hastening the impacts of climate change on the rest of the world, most especially Africa, while at the same time derailing international efforts (as weak as they already are) to help the world’s poorest countries deal with these new environmental challenges.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From Nyasatimes

More From the World

5 thoughts on “What US President-elect Trump means for Africa”

  1. prof. Odiyayo says:

    WE congratulate Mr President – elect. Africa is happy to work with President Trump to eliminate lies on the continent that OBama brought. Mr President your first assignment is support African people and leaders to stop the madness of gay marriages which is unnatural, unethical, against umunthu and barbaric. We love Trump as true Africans.

  2. The Analyst says:

    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O
    I don’t like dishonest people! And you (Simon Allison) are being dishonest with yourself when you single out AGOA as a prime example of trade deals weighing against America.
    . . . Just when do you suppose Trump will alter the AGOA when it has been extended to 2025 now?
    . . . And how many times has the AGOA been extended since becoming Law in 2000? if not at least 7 times?
    . . . Now, can you swear upon your honour that crooked, cunning and aggressive as the U.S. is, it can just keep extending a trade agreement which is negatively affecting it?
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    And are you being honest with yourself when you give an impression that the U.S. benefits nothing from the AGOA?
    . . . What does the US do with the goods (chickens etc) from Sub-Sahara African (SAA) countries? It throws them away, you think? Are these not used as raw materials in the U.S? If the U.S. cant feed itself, does it not need additional supplies from somewhere? Are these not the supplies?
    . . . Moreover, are the SAAs not required to meet certain criteria (rule of law, human rights etc) to qualify for the AGOA? What is Ameria doing, if not meddling into other countries’ affairs, willy-nilly? Is this not a display of America’s power over others?
    . . . Yes, the AGOA is a duty-free trade agreement for the SAAs but you cant lie to some of us that it is weighing against the U.S. In fact, the opposite is true!
    . . . And are you not overestimating Trump when you assume that he has the power, the capaciity, and the time to do all these things? Come on dude!
    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O

    1. kanchenga says:

      He was thinking like an African hand clapper. Thinking that what happens in most African countries where the president can do anything he wants also happens in other democracies.

    2. Oswiri says:

      I like the Analyst. He speaks sense. The dunderhead who wrote this article is as emptyheaded as TB Joshua’s followers

  3. sashaa says:

    I have no problem with Trump being a president of USA. What is crystal clear is that Trumps ideologies and policies albeit controversial in the eyes of PRO-DEMOCRATS resonates well with many Americans hence his victory. Americans have spoken democracy has won.One thing for sure, the hate propaganda against Trump being aired by western media outlets such as CNN, BBC, SKYNEWS and aljazeera have been put to shame.

Comments are closed.