Trump administration will not have sweet medicine for Africa
And second, he’s a New Yorker. Brash and no-holds barred. And he will become indignant if you cross him.
As a businessman, Trump sees everything through a single lens — return on investment (ROI). This is what he has based every business decision on for more than 40 years. It is the tape measure in his toolkit. It quantifies what he gets back on his investments. And now, as president, he will apply that same ratio to foreign policy to measure what the US gets back from its allies. Simply stated, what is their ROI to the US? On his desk in the Oval Office should be a nameplate that reads: “Donald J Trump: President and Deal Maker in Chief.”
The difficulty for Africa is that its geopolitical and economic value — as it relates to Trump’s vision for the US — simply won’t land it anywhere near the top of his list of foreign policy priorities. To Trump the businessman, much of Africa has a low ROI — certainly compared to countries such as the UK, France, Israel, Japan, South Korea and Germany, not to mention “frenemies” such as Russia and China.
There will, of course, continue to be trade between Africa and the US as commodities are always an economic driver irrespective of their current prices. But there is every reason to expect that under a Trump administration the US will be less engaged in Africa especially where it concerns the expenditure of taxpayer money on economic and humanitarian development initiatives. The reality is that the US is a net exporter of financial aid and humanitarian assistance to Africa — net of the commodities and resources that the US imports from it. And because of this, much of the continent will be caught in Trump’s crosshairs, ultimately putting many of these important aid programmes at risk.
So what will be the defining theme with regard to the broader US policy towards Africa under Trump? Simple. Combating terrorism.