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President-Elect Donald Trump and the future of Africa-US trade

Donald Trump hasn’t said much about Africa, except, perhaps that he’s adopting an ‘America First’ attitude. What does it mean for our continent?

When George W Bush became US’s 43rd President, Africa benefitted from the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar). By the end of next year, this programme would have contributed US$750 million for the purchase of medicines and the building of infrastructure in the bid to combat crippling HIV/Aids infection.

During President Barack Obama’s time in office, he launched Power Africa which brought together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to increase the number of African citizens who have access to electricity.

It’s understandable, then, that when it comes to President-Elect Donald Trump’s agenda for Africa, there is growing concern.

Jakkie Cilliers, chairman of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), told TimesLive that Trump’s distinct lack of comment about Africa during the presidential debates, is the cause for the uncertainty.

Cilliers was quoted in the publication as saying, “Trump has said very little about Africa – I don’t think he knows much about Africa. It is just not on his radar – it seems like he will be an insular president focused on US interests – in some sense, isolationist.”

This could mean a cut to US funding for HIV/Aids research and treatment on the African continent. Analysts point to Trump’s noticeable silence on issues surrounding malaria and HIV infection.

For now, stability comes from deals like the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) which offers an American free trade agreement that will only end in 2025. But, Mr. Trump’s focus on in-sourcing means he could be employing measures to cut any expenditure that does not benefit the American people first and foremost.

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