All eyes are now on President-elect Donald Trump following his stunning victory in Tuesday’s U.S. election. During his campaign, the billionaire businessman, turned politician, used strong, divisive rhetoric that served to galvanize his supporters, while alienating many other people around the world, including Africans.
In fact, the continent was barely mentioned during his stump speeches and according to Quartz, Trump’s foreign policy towards Africa will be a mix of aggression and isolationism, with minimal funding going toward humanitarian aid.
While running for office, Trump reiterated America’s need to spend more money at home, and less overseas, which implies that he’s likely to cut foreign aid. Such cuts could have a huge impact on Africa, which has received more than $70 billion through the President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief program since 2004. The initiative has been a major boost to health on the continent, while also positively impacting children’s rights and gender equality.
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Trump’s views on terrorism could be detrimental to Africa, as he attempts to address what he believes is President Barack Obama’s failure to address the rise of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Libya following Muammar Gaddafi’s death.
The Trump administration is likely to advocate and engage in militarized responses to any terror threats stemming from Africa.
In a blog post published on the Institute for Security Studies’ website, researcher Zachary Donnenfeld wrote:
A Trump presidency would likely see elevated support for authoritarian leaders—many of whom govern African states—who use counterterrorism as a guise to repress citizens who voice opposing views, further restricting civil liberties.
Trump is determined to eliminate not only those directly affiliated with ISIS, but also their families. A growing number of terrorist organisations in Africa have declared an affiliation with ISIS, so this could mean hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians killed in drone strikes during his administration.
Trump’s policy on Africa will soon be put to the test. The African Growth and Opportunity Act trade agreement, which gives preferential treatment to exports from Africa to the United States, is set to expire in 2025. Soon after taking office, Trump’s administration will be tasked with either renewing the agreement or letting it expire.