Sunday, August 14, 2016 

Editorial: How would the USA elections affect Africa?

The US elections are the most watched and talked about elections in the world with the entire world following closely who and what is happening in the United States of America. 

However, for a long time, the elections seemed to be moving within the two main parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Only rarely did an independent run for president, the enigmatic Ross Perot in the 1992 US presidential elections for example.

In all, the kinds of people in the elections have been rather predictable, Clinton is a good example, having served as secretary of state in Obama’s administration and earlier as first lady in her husband Bill Clinton’s two term presidency.

So, when Donald Trump came along, some sections of African watchers, especially those that knew Trump from his exploits in his reality show The Apprentice that aired on mainly pay TV channels and also knew him from his business deals, ownership of a beauty pageant and his books, especially his best selling The Art of the Deal, thought this was the real deal.

Many applauded his business skills and thought this is the best thing that has happened to the US. 

While it is true Trump has made a lot of money, it is a whole different matter governing a nation, especially one as diverse, complex and big as the USA. There are too many interests to look at and Obama saw this first hand. He wanted to close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and bring back all the ‘boots’ from Iraq, but even as he leaves his presidency, this has not been entirely possible. Even the healthcare system he is fighting for and gun control are very difficult to handle.

A quick look at Donald Trump for Africa would most likely be disastrous mainly because he does not think much of Africans, if what he says about Africans is anything to go by. He seems to think Africans are lazy and prone to too much indulgence.

However, Trump is a businessman and I would not put it past him to simply  have used these antics to win the Republican nomination. You see, politics and business are usually a game of chess. You play your game mainly to win and you could make enemies on the way, but once you have won, you can try to repair the damage done.

Given Trump’s success in business, I guess he would try to do deals with Africa, however, Africa would never come away the winner, i.e. with a shrewd businessman, there is rarely ever a win-win situation.

A cursory look at Hillary Clinton, his rival and nominee for the Democratic party paints a picture of continuity and generally a sense of ‘business as usual.’ In fact, the business community, according to media reports, would much prefer a Clinton victory because there would be no surprises an the markets, as we all know, hate surprises and especially, uncertainty.

For Africa, it would be the usual diplomacy, maybe an increase in aid here and there, because of the Democratic Party principles, but there will not be much aggression in terms of foreign policy. Under Clinton there is not likely to be a war path, unlike if, for example Donald Trump is elected.

Donald Trump seems already to be on the war path with the building of walls around Mexico and refusal of entry to Muslims to the USA on top of his agenda.

Ironically, the USA is said to benefit more economically when they have a war president, because there is a lot of economics surrounding battles and all these excursions into enemy territory. The expenditure involved always seems to spur economic growth with an increase in jobs, much industrial activity especially around the military sphere and all this kind of trickling down to the civil society.

So, Africa will not really benefit from anyone whoever is elected president of the United states. If Clinton is elected, it will be business as usual and as we all know, Africa is currently not doing so well. 

If Trump is elected, it may even get worse with possible sanctions on several governments and a generally unpredictable future.

By Editor, Sunday, August 14th, 2016