Analysts wary of fallout for SA
Those figures have been helped in no small way by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
“We’ve inherited many initiatives from prior administrations”, of which Agoa along with the HIV/AIDS aid programme Pepfar are two, Gaspard said.
“Bipartisan support of US African policy is longstanding. We don’t expect that to change with president-elect Trump,” he said. “Agoa was renewed last year for a further ten years,” and is unlikely to be affected by the incoming administration.
Economist Iraj Abedian of Pan-African Investment and Research Services said Agoa would be of little value should Trump tamper with the architecture of global trade trends.
“From as far back as [the administration of former president Bill] Clinton, the global trend was towards multilateral free trading zones, which have benefited emerging economies such as India and China.”
Should Trump then follow through on some of the controversial statements he offered during the divisive campaign against Clinton, Abedian believes there will be a movement towards world disorder that will affect SA severely, regardless of Agoa.
“If Trump decides to slap 45% tariffs on China or pull the US out of the Nafta [North American Free Trade Agreement], or cancel agreements with Europe that have been 30 years in the making, then we are looking at the kind of global disorder from which Agoa will not save us.”
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said there was little to suggest at this stage that such speculation would materialise.
“As it stands, we are sitting with a piece of legislation, Agoa, which is legally protected through to 2025, from which SA benefits,” he said.
“To speculate on anything else the US president might or might not do is something I am not prepared to do.”
The American Chamber of Commerce in SA, which represents more than 250 US entities, was cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the November 9 presidential vote.
“We are entering unchartered waters,” CE Carol O’Brien said. The comforting fact “is that Trump is a businessman. And Africa is a new frontier.
“And we are hoping that he, as a businessman, will see the wisdom in that.”