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.
Continue reading “HOW THE BUILD ACT CAN INVIGORATE U.S. ECONOMIC TIES IN 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.
Continue reading “4 things discussed during the US land expropriation talks in South Africa”
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.
Continue reading “Escalation in Somalia Is a Foreign Policy Failure in Progress”
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.
Continue reading “US INVESTORS TO HELP BUILD AFRICA”
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
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.
Continue reading “TRUMP MAY BE ABOUT TO UNDERMINE OBAMA’S AFRICA POLICY |”
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.
Continue reading “Bridging the gap: Africa’s science landscape and the African diaspora”
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.
Continue reading “From Wakanda to reality: Building mutual prosperity between African-Americans and Africa”