FEATURE: Africa’s best bet – Trump or Biden?
CAPE TOWN, October 30 (ANA) - With only a few hours to go until the much-anticipated US presidential elections on November 3, not only are Americans holding their breath for the outcome, but Africans are, too.
President Donald Trump, who was elected the 45th US president in 2016 after beating Democratic candidate and former US first lady Hilary Clinton, hasn’t had the smoothest of encounters with Africa during his tenure, and African’s haven’t forgotten.
From infamously referring to African countries as “sh*tholes” to calling Namibia “Nambia”, the former TV celebrity turned president has left a sour taste in the mouth of Africans, with many labelling him as a racist.
Let’s not forget the explosive revelations by Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who wrote recently wrote in his book that the incumbent president of the US was a racist who praised South Africa's apartheid regime.
In 2018, Trump accused climate change scientists of having a "political agenda", a contributing factor to his climate change denial, of which Africa has already felt the effects.
According to not-for-profit news outlet The Conversation, three years ago Trump cancelled US support for the Green Climate Fund, which led to budget cuts in research and the cancellation of donations to the multilateral environmental fund.
In his administration's latest snub of Africa, Trump has described the World Trade Organization (WTO) as "horrible" and biased towards China, and has said some appointments to key roles in the organisation have already been blocked.
The appointment of Nigeria's former finance minister to lead the WTO has been thrown into doubt after the US opposed the move. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be the first woman and first African to lead the WTO.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s relationship with Africa seems to be above board but not without blemish.
The former vice-president recently acknowledged that he was not, in fact, arrested in South Africa during a visit to the country in the 1970s trying to see Nelson Mandela.
In an interview with CNN, Biden clarified, "When I said arrested, I meant I was not able, I was not able to move… I wasn't arrested, I was stopped. I was not able to move where I wanted to go."
Biden said he was visiting South Africa with a delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus when he was separated from the group at the airport.
The Independent UK reported in June that a video had emerged of Biden in 1986 voicing opposition to the apartheid regime, saying, “Our loyalty is not to South Africa but to South Africans” and calling the apartheid regime “repulsive”.
According to a report by media outlet All Africa, Biden’s most substantive on-the-record statement on Africa was a response to a questionnaire submitted to all Democratic Party contenders a year ago by the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The United States cannot afford to miss this moment to engage with African youth and to offer them a window into the American model of democracy," Biden said in his response.
Working with African partners, he said, the US should prioritise economic growth by strengthening trading relationships; empower African women because educated and empowered women are the key to development; start an urbanisation initiative, including partnerships with US cities, to help African cities plan for their growth; and demonstrate the American model of democracy and economic development.
Meanwhile, according to recent reports, repairing US relations with key African countries must be a priority for the next administration – that’s if Biden wins the November election, senior Democrats have said.
Furthermore, according to a recent pan-African survey conducted by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation African Youth Survey, 6% of young Africans believe that Trump has had the greatest impact on the continent over the past five years and should he be re-elected, 22% believe he will wield the greatest influence over the continent in the future.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher