As the world watches the United States hold its presidential elections, African pundits are speculating about the continent’s foreign policy with America once a new president is elected. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Liberian scholar Robtel Neajai Pailey has said that the outcome of the U.S. election will “result in few changes, if any” for Africa.
“Although there is mounting uncertainty about the result of November 8th, one thing remains clear to me. Trump’s tax evasion tendencies and Clinton’s philanthro-capitalist shadiness prove that the United States lacks the moral authority, more than it ever has, to lecture Africa on the tenets of good governance, transparency, and accountability,” she said.
Pailey further notes that U.S. foreign policy in Liberia has always been geared to protect the interests of the world super power. She cites the case of the U.S. government-funded multimedia news source Voice of America, which was used to spread American propaganda in Africa during the 1980s.
Reactions From South Africa
In an interview with IOL, investment analyst at Absa Wealth and Investment Management Christopher Gilmour said that a win for Hillary Clinton would be more favorable for Africa’s second largest economy. This prediction is based on Clinton’s actions as secretary of state when she pushed for the 10-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade agreement, which has benefited South Africa.
“Clinton would probably be more inclined to maintain the good relations [that] South Africa has with the United States. Republicans haven’t been particularly disposed to South Africa and Africa. The United States might be more inclined to take a harder stance under a Republican administration,” he said.
According to Freedom House, AGOA is the pillar of trade between the United States and Africa. Although it accounts for only 2 percent of all U.S. goods traded, the benefits are more for sub-Saharan African countries that export petroleum commodities.
The foreign policies of both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates builds on the current U.S. foreign policy towards Africa, which is four-fold: strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, advancing peace and security, as well as promoting development.
One Vote ‘16, a campaign to fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease in sub-Saharan Africa, notes that both candidates advocate for strengthening ties with Africa due to its “extraordinary potential.”
Both candidates have said that they will continue to support health initiatives geared towards the eradication of AIDS/HIV. Democrats have also pushed for stronger economic and political ties with pan-African bodies such as the African Union.
In a 2016 study by Afrobarometer Research Network, African countries ranked the United States first for its national development model, implying that the continent views the American bloc as an important strategic partner.