Donald Trump: No interest in Africa


In his first five months in office the US President has lost hardly a word to Africa. Important Posts remain vacant. Critics fear that the US could lose influence in the Region.

Also, several hundred Kenyans voted – purely for fun – a new U.S. President. Hillary Clinton won.

Well three weeks after he took office Donald Trump took the first contact with Africa: In telephone conversations with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, he assured the weights of the presidents of the two African heavy that the United States is more interested in good economic relations and Expansion of cooperation in Anti-Terror fight.

Shortly after, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta came in the pleasure of a telephone conversation with the US President. Since then, radio silence prevails. The Trump Administration is only concerned with American domestic politics. Foreign policy hardly plays a role; and if it is, then it’s not about Russia, the Middle East, China and North Korea, but to Africa.

Disinterest as a security risk

A Problem is that many of the approximately 7000 Items in the government occupied in the United States in the case of any change at the top, are still vacant. So there is in the State Department, the US Department of state, until today, no new head of the Department for Africa, writes Bronwyn Bruton from the Africa centre at the Atlantic Council, a non-partisan Think Tank in Washington: “Africa policy is not made at the top management level but at the Department head level”, says the expert. “But if there is no head of Department for Africa, then there is no Africa policy – or at least not active.” Many African veterans in the foreign policy Establishment of the United States were concerned that America could lose this demonstrative lack of influence in the Region, warns Bruton.

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Africa fears for U.S. development assistance

This could have direct consequences for the security interests of the United States: epidemics such as Ebola do not respect national borders. Refugees and migrants from Africa are striving not only to Europe, but also in the United States. And internationally operating terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab threaten not only America’s African allies, but also US citizens.

A free Hand for US generals

Especially on the latter threat had already responded Trumps predecessor, Bush, and Obama with the Expansion of American military presence in Africa: in addition to the large base “Camp Lemonnie” in Djibouti, there are now many smaller, over the whole continent of distributed support points for the use of drones and special forces.

Donald Trump gave his generals free Hand in the fight against terrorist groups, says Katie Zimmerman, a security expert at the “American Enterprise Institute” (AEI), a conservative Think Tank. The American armed forces, for example, since March is allowed to carry out “Autonomous offensive actions against Al-Shabaab militias in Somalia, to support allies of the United States,” says Zimmerman. Under Obama, almost every single action had to be from the White house approved.

The USA have for decades, military in Africa

Bronwyn Bruton of the Atlantic Council feared a far-reaching militarization of U.S. Africa policy, and opportunistic alliances with dictators and authoritarian rulers: “the Regime, which were outlawed under Obama, to a large extent the governments of Sudan, Eritrea and Zimbabwe, of course, are glad that there is now a President, the human rights and democracy largely don’t matter”, writes Bruton. Katie Zimmerman looks similar to this: “Even under the military, it is undisputed that in the fight against Terror, only a broad strategy that also includes improvements in good governance and economic development, is a promising one,” emphasizes the security expert at the AEI.

Africa has a lot of potential partners

The exciting question is whether or not Trump who is known to be taken in order to make America “great”, sooner or later, the economic Potential of Africa, discovered. The continent is under US entrepreneurs as the “last frontier”, as the last undiscovered region of global capitalism: you have recognized that many African countries export only raw materials, but also in their infrastructure, invest in, and with a growing middle class, new markets for U.S. companies.

On the high-level economy conference on “U.S.-Africa Business Summit”, which took place a few days ago in Washington, however, it was also clear that the Weights move in the relationships. Quite self-aware of the Africans pointed to the conference to the fact that you have a lot of potential partners, and Europe and the United States would have to make an effort, if you do not want to lose the connection: “We are talking with China, with India, with Brazil and many others,” said Abdu Suleye Diop, representative of the Moroccan entrepreneurs Association. Other participants stressed that their countries would not need aid money, but more commitment of the private sector: “The private sector is more efficient, because there is a personal responsibility of entrepreneurs,” said Betty Gikonyo, founder of the Kenyan “Karen”-the hospital group.

Hope for continuity

After all: the entrepreneurs summit took place at all, and even the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appeared as a speaker, was seen as a positive sign. Finally, the conference was called in the Era of Obama, and Donald Trump to date has rarely missed an opportunity, and the initiatives of his predecessor, and again to turn back.

Barack Obama placed great emphasis on good economic relations with Africa

Another positive sign: The next summit of the AGOA Initiative, named after a US law for the promotion of trade with Africa (the”African Growth and Opportunity Act”) from the year 2000, will take place as planned in August in Togo. “We will be represented with a very large Delegation in Lomé,” promises Brian T. Neubert, head of the regional media center of the US foreign Ministry in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Until then, will certainly be more visible, what new accents will put the Trump Administration with a view to Africa.”

Until Further notice, the Signal from the working level of the U.S. government but, rather, More so! In this respect, it might also be Good that Trump is not yet come to deal with Africa. Because a certain degree of continuity in American policy on Africa, at least, guarantee.