As the tight race for the White House continues between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the world watches on with keen interest. Africa most especially must take interest in the outcome of the U.S election as this will have an impact on its economies.
Below is a discussion on the implications of the outcome of the US election 2020 on Africa’s economies.
US Election 2020 and Africa
A win for the incumbent may witness another round of trade bout between China and the U.S. and African governments may be called upon to choose between American or Chinese support.
A win for Joe Biden may witness an end to the trade war and an amicable partnership with a more focused approach to Africa.
The modern scramble for Africa
The original “scramble for Africa” also called the “Conquest of Africa” or the “Partition of Africa” was a period between the years 1881 and 1914 where European countries occupied Africa and attempted to colonize it. Close to 90% of Africa was subjected to European rule by the year 1914.
Today, the modern scramble for Africa has witnessed new players such as Russia and China. China has however become the most opportunistic and notable player on the African continent. With the Trump administration having no clear-cut plans in pursuing an Africa agenda, China is taking the bold step to exact its influence on the continent.
In 2000, The Economist, an international business magazine referred to Africa as the “Hopeless Continent,” due to the cycles of civil unrest and political instability as well as poverty and diseases that plagued the continent.
In 2011 however, it referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and in a March 2013 issue referred to Africa as the “Hopeful Continent.”
The change in the narrative may largely be a result of the economic evidence that suggests Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions and a profitable investment ground.
Africa is ready to grow and is heading towards a $5 trillion economy. China is recognizing this potential and taking advantage of the natural resources Africa has to offer by offering loans for growth and development as well as Foreign Direct Investment which is drastically changing the economic landscape of the continent. From the establishment of railways in Kenya and the construction of roads and ports in Ethiopia, China is leaving no country on the African continent unturned.
Between 2000 and 2006, China lent nearly $125 billion to Africa and also pledged a $60 billion investment at the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Co-operation. Trade between China and Africa has grown from $10 billion in 2000 to $190 billion by 2017.
In a report by McKinsey & Company, it is estimated that 12% of Africa’s industrial production valued at $500 billion annually is being handled by Chinese firms with a claim of nearly 50% of Africa’s internationally contracted construction market. Let’s not forget the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as of September 2019, saw 40 of 55 African countries sign an agreement.
With these investments and more being undertaken by China, the U.S. warns Africa to be wary of the continuous investments of China since they have hidden strings/agenda tied to them with a neo-colonial overtone.
With the U.S under a Trump administration having no priority interest or agenda for Africa, the fear is, Africa may soon be subjected to the control of China.
US Election 2020 and Africa – A Joe Biden win
A Joe Biden win, on the other hand, could more likely translate into a stronger United States backing for the African Continental Free Trade Area and a more extended support of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). But the question remains if Trump and the US are worried about China’s influence in Africa, why don’t they recognize the opportunity and become once more the continent’s biggest trade investor or market player?
Trump has been tagged as a racist by many political, economic, and individual players which seems apparent. His white nationalist agenda seems bold in the face of many. From the outright refusal to condemn white supremacists to the derogatory remarks of calling African nations “shithole countries,” Trump has no interest for ‘people of colour.’
Moreover, in 1973, the Trump Management Corporation under the leadership of Trump was sued twice by the Justice Department for not renting to black people. Africa being the ‘black continent,’ well, that speaks volumes.