Even though Africa was not totally disconnected from the United States during the Trump Administration,President Donald Trump’s political philosophy of “Make America Great Again,” however, weakened the relationship between Africa and the US in some ways. Not many African leaders could visit Washington, D.C. during the Trump Administration, except Mohammadou Bohari of Nigeria, and Trump himself did not visit Africa except his wife.
At one point, President Trump described Africa and other countries in Latin America as “shithole” countries, a comment that irritated a lot of African countries and the opposition bloc in the US Congress.
By extension, the former US President went as far as withdrawing the United States from the global approach to climate change, the World Health Organization (WHO), and reducing US budget support to other international organizations.
President Joe Biden, having taken over from Trump with a different philosophy, is setting things on a path that will strengthen the weaken relation.
In his message to the African leaders as they prepare to converge at the 34th African Union Summit soon, President Biden said: “We must all work together to advance our shared vision of a better future. A future of growing trade and investment that advances the prosperity of all our nations. A future that advances lives of peace and security for all our citizens. A future committed to investing in our democratic institutions and promoting the human rights of all people — women and girls, LGBTQI individuals, people with disabilities, and people of every ethnic background, religion, and heritage.”
The US President said lessons from the past year have shown how interconnected countries of the world are, and how everyone’s fate is bound together. “This past year has also shown us how interconnected our world is – and how our fates are bound up together. That’s why my administration is committed to rebuilding our partnerships around the world and re-engaging with international institutions like the African Union,” President Biden said.
The beginning of 2020 saw COVID-19 spreading across the globe, leaving Africans uncertain as to how to handle the pandermic amid poor and unsophisticated health facilities.
President Biden being optimistic that the pandemic can be defeated, went on to say: “To reach this future, we must also confront the serious challenges we face. That includes investing more in global health— defeating COVID-19 and working to prevent, detect, and respond to future public health crises, and partnering with the Africa CDC and other institutions to advance health security.”
He went further to comment on the issue of climate change and conflicts on the African continent, noting, “Raising our climate ambitions and ensuring developing nations can mitigate and adapt to the climate impacts that are already causing pain. And engaging in sustained diplomacy, in concert with the African Union, to address conflicts that are costing lives across the African continent.”
The President further acknowledged that the fight is not an easy one, but with collective efforts that can be won and become history. “None of it will be easy. But the United States stands ready to be your partner, in solidarity, support, and mutual respect.”
In 2014 President Barack Obama hosted the US-Africa Leaders Summit during which the Africa Business Forum was held, and at that time he acknowledged Africa’s potential for business that the US could take advantage of and not surrender it to China entirely.
President Biden, who was then the Vice President in the Obama Administration, seems not to have forgotten what his predecessor said. In consonance with this statement made six and a half years ago, President Biden assured African leaders: “We believe in the nations of Africa. In the continent-wide spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. And though the challenges are great, there is no doubt that our nations, our people, and the African Union are up to this task.”