Category: Policy

How bonds aimed at the diaspora can raise crucial funds for Africa

By Jay Benson

Nigeria’s first diaspora bond, issued in 2017, was a resounding success. It raised $300 million for investment in infrastructure from Nigerians overseas and was oversubscribed by 130%. The government is now reportedly planning a second similar offering.

As many African countries attempt to raise development finance, diaspora bonds – which resemble other kinds of bonds but are targeted at citizens abroad – are highly appealing.

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America pledges an ‘unwavering’ commitment to higher education in Africa

By Edwin Naidu

Senior United States diplomat Tibor Nagy, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said his country is committed to strengthening ties on the African continent through stronger trade links and investment in higher education.

Nagy, the former vice-provost for international affairs at Texas Tech University in the US, spoke glowingly of the “enduring partnership between the United States and South Africa”.

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Economic ‘Game Changer’? African Leaders Launch Free-Trade Zone

By Boureima Balima

African leaders launched a continental free-trade zone on Sunday that if successful would unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.

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Can Trump’s Prosper Africa make America greater than China and other partners in Africa?

By Landry Signé and Eric Olander

The official launch of the Trump Administration’s Prosper Africa program at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Mozambique on June 19 comes after months of policy talk about ramping up trade and investment between the United States and African countries. Prosper Africa aligns with the Trump administration’s Africa strategy, introduced by National Security Adviser John Bolton last December, which aims to promote prosperity, security, and stability in U.S.-Africa relations, and confirms the administration’s prioritization of trade and investment to reach those three objectives.

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The Trump administration’s Africa policy

By Nick Westcott

Does President Donald Trump have a policy on Africa, and if so what? The answer to this question is both interesting and revealing.

President Trump does not seem to pay much attention to Africa. Apart from his well-publicised comments to a group of senators in January 2018 dismissing the whole of Africa as “shithole countries,” he has not said much about the continent.

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HOW THE BUILD ACT CAN INVIGORATE U.S. ECONOMIC TIES IN AFRICA

By Ed Royce and Robin Renee Sanders

Since the U.S. BUILD Act was signed into law last October, many people across Africa as well as members of the Africa Diaspora have been asking what this global initiative might do to help revitalize American engagement with the continent. The answer is: quite a lot!

The goal of BUILD or the — “Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act” – is exactly what the American private sector has long sought. BUILD does a number of positive things to boost the U.S.-Africa economic, business, and development relationship.

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4 things discussed during the US land expropriation talks in South Africa

A number of top US officials recently visited South Africa at the request of President Donald Trump as part of an investigation into the country’s land expropriation process.

The delegation, which included US Deputy Foreign Secretary John J. Sullivan, met with AgriSA, Grain SA, and ANC officials on Friday (15 March) to discuss how the land expropriation process may impact property rights in the country.

In a statement released on Monday, AgriSA outlined what was discussed in the meeting and the issues that were raised.

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Escalation in Somalia Is a Foreign Policy Failure in Progress

U.S. intervention quietly escalates in Somalia.

While the Trump administration has very visibly made and modified plans to reduce U.S. military intervention in Syria and Afghanistan, it has quietly escalated the fight in Somalia. U.S. airstrikes in the North African nation are on the rise, The New York Times reported Sunday, and that higher pace of bombardment has contributed to increased civilian displacement and all the turmoil that comes with it.

This is a foreign policy failure in progress. If the last two decades of missteps in the Middle East and North Africa have demonstrated anything, it is that secretive wars of choice are prone to mission creep and rife with unintended consequences. Rather than expand, U.S. military intervention in Somalia should be shut down before it spirals into another needless generational conflict.

The United States has had some military presence in Somalia for the better part of three decades, and the current campaign began in 2007. But U.S. strikes were few—zero to three per year—until 2015, when former President Barack Obama started an upward trend the Trump team has continued. Last year, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) reported 47 strikes. The first two months of this year put us on track to triple that by December.

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US INVESTORS TO HELP BUILD AFRICA

By Bolaji Samuel

The tension between the two economic giants in the world, China and the United States (US), might have a silver lining for Africa. The administration of President Donald Trump is set to increase investment into the continent, in a bid to counter the narrative that China’s influence in Africa is rising, while the US falls off with its “America first” approach.

President Trump signed the legislation, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, or the BUILD Act, into law in October 2018. It combines the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and other US agencies focusing on international economic development into a newly consolidated agency called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

It is anticipated that the DFC will be operational in October 2019 and at that time the DFC will begin deploying US equity capital in African private equity.
The DFC expands OPIC’s budget from USD29 billion to USD60 billion and provides the DFC with the authority to make limited equity investments. Previously, OPIC was limited to debt investments.

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A New Africa Strategy: Expanding Economic and Security Ties on the Basis of Mutual Respect

The Trump Administration’s new Africa Strategy is based on three tenets.

The first is advancing U.S. trade and commercial ties with nations across the region to the benefit of both the United States and Africa.

The second is countering the threat from radical Islamic terrorism and violent conflict. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates all operate and recruit on the African continent, plotting attacks against American citizens and targets.

Third, the U.S. will ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars for aid are used efficiently and effectively. The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent without focus or prioritization.

This was revealed by in a new report by Heritage Foundation after a session with John R. Bolton, the U.S. National Security Advisor at a session at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.

Read more about the session and the report

TRUMP MAY BE ABOUT TO UNDERMINE OBAMA’S AFRICA POLICY |

An opinion piece by Herman J. Cohen former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1989-1993), U.S. ambassador to Senegal and The Gambia (1977-1980), a National Security Council member (1987-1989) and a 38-year veteran of the Foreign Service.

President Trump likes to overturn his predecessor’s initiatives, but so far the US-Africa relationship has been defined by policy continuity—a rare bipartisan bright spot among domestic and foreign turmoil. Yet there are clouds on the horizon. Public statements by senior American officials, including President Trump himself, foreshadow potentially troubling moves which threaten to undermine decades of mutually beneficial relations.

The first half of President Trump’s term has been good news for Africa. His first Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, is an expert diplomat and the right man for the job. Work continues apace at President Obama’s two signature programs, Power Africa and Feed the Future; at George W. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Corporation, and at PEPFAR, the hugely successful U.S. initiative to fight HIV/AIDS. Every year, more African nations are taking advantage of unilateral free-trade privileges under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The military’s U.S. Africa Command continues to provide assistance and advisors to nations fighting Islamist terrorism and other threats to regional stability. These programs are working. But there are a few indications that the Trump administration could pull the rug out from underneath.
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Bridging the gap: Africa’s science landscape and the African diaspora

As I headed home on the plane, my mind was abuzz. The engines steadily hummed in the background, dulled only by the even louder thoughts that raced through my mind. The plane lights were dim. Snores ebbed and flowed around me, my neighbors nothing but still heaps piled under blankets. Meanwhile, I sat wide awake, staring ahead into space, unable to settle down.

I was on my way back to the US after a 3-week span of conferences and research project work in East Africa. This exercise isn’t new to me, however. I am a penultimate example of the “reverse diaspora,” where a particular area of expertise (my academic research) which is focused in Kenya has landed me there for increasingly more frequent stints every year for the past several years. While I was born in America to Kenyan immigrant parents, I was raised in Kenya from a young age.

I went on to pursue secondary education in America, and now hold a faculty appointment at a US institution. In some shape or form, I knew that I’d return some day.

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From Wakanda to reality: Building mutual prosperity between African-Americans and Africa

 

By Landry Signé and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

This year’s Black History Month is being celebrated with a higher sense of African pride, given the unprecedented enthusiasm generated by Marvel’s “Black Panther” last year and increased conversations about a better representation of minority groups.

“Wakanda”—a fictitious, prosperous, “futuristic, powerful, and proud African nation”—salutes black culture by “shedding light on black excellence.” After the movie’s release, many in black America—and across ethnicities—and around the world are wondering how to turn this fiction into reality.

During the hype of “Black Panther,” we both were giving talks on how to unlock Africa’s potential to African-American professionals, community, and business leaders. Many of them asked us how they could help make Africa as successful as the imaginary Wakanda. In other words, where are the opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relations between Africa, African Americans, and the United States?

We propose strategies focused on three themes: tourism in Africa; trade and investment in and with Africa; and knowledge, innovation, and technology sharing to improve U.S.-Africa relations.

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