Americans are casting their votes in the November 3 election for those who would represent them at national and local levels. The stakes are especially high for the offices of the President, Senators, and the House of Representatives.
While this is taking place, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of the relations between the United States and the African continent. The continent is home to an estimated 1.2 billion people, a vibrant population that will account for one-fifth of the world’s population, and a consumer market projected to reach 5.6 trillion, by 2025. That is, in just the next few years.
And, contrary to a perceived downward democratic trend in the continent, Landry Signe, a fellow with the U.S.-based Brookings Institution tells us the continent continues to see improvements in governance, marked by improvements in what he terms “vertical and horizontal accountability.”
With this background, whoever can tap into the continent’s potential is set to unlock huge gains for both sides.
As we’ve seen, the Chinese, Indians, and Russians have seized the moment. For example, the value of Chinese investment in the continent since 2005 is estimated to be around $2 trillion, according to the American Enterprise Institute. The question now is, where is America in all of this vis-a-vis its relations with the African continent?
Previously I’ve pointed out some of the reporting on how the Trump administration has approached these relations. I’ve outlined a lot of the policy decisions they have made. I contrasted them with decisions made by previous administrations, including the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. Recently the news reporting on this subject has shifted. Today there are calls, from some of the people who have been at the highest levels of American government decision-making, for “a reset” of U.S‑Africa relations.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. appears to have dropped the ball on its relations with the continent. The administration is being criticized, soundly, for its failed approach to the continent. Meanwhile, the administration says it is doing just fine. They are touting their own African successes, especially under the banner of the Prosper Africa strategy.
A lot has been written on this subject since the beginning of the Trump administration in 2017. Global affairs writer, Howard French, says U.S. disengagement from Africa is not something new. French thinks under the Trump administration this strategy is about to go “totally adrift.”
There is much more to this than meets the eye. The purpose of this writing is to point out some of the journalistic reporting that we’ve seen in the last two months, about the state of the relations against the backdrop of the 2020 election and as the administration nears four years in office. Of course, the question remains whether the administration will be given the opportunity of another four years in office or not by the American people.
12 American Stories for Consideration
1. October 31, 2020 — The Guardian
- October 27, 2020 — VOA News
- October 26, 2020— The Africa Report
- October 21, 2020— Wall Street Journal
- October 20, 2020 — CBS News
- October 19, 2020 — Just Security
- October 16, 2020 ‑VOA News
- October 12, 2020 – Council on Foreign Relations
- October 9, 2020 – Institute for Security Studies
- September 30, 2020 – Cable News Network — CNN
- September 28, 2020 ‑International Affairs Review
- September 14, 2020 — Africa Portal