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How Africa Can Benefit from Donald Trump’s Less Attention to Africa

The United States of America’s influence in the world is beyond politics. It covers every aspect of the modern civilization. It has been like that since the end of the Second World War when she rose to prominence and filled up the global leadership void created as a result of the fall of Europe.

The US grip on the world was fully consolidated when the Soviet Union collapsed, making her the major exporter of liberal political ideals and western culture, through Nollywood to every other part of the world. There is hardly anything happening in the world that was not triggered by the US domineering civilization.

Given the strategic position of the US in the contemporary world, all countries pay attention to her presidential election, knowing full well that whoever becomes her president can significantly impact global outcomes. This explained why everyone across the globe keenly followed the presidential election that ushered in President Donald Trump.

Being an unartful speaker, Trump made some bold statements that he intended to make the crux of his policy before he was elected. Some of these statements, which made many African leaders worried, mirrored how the years of “misleadership” had impoverished Africa.

All the alleged Trump’s statements before and after the election, indicated that he was going to pay little or no attention to Africa. Interestingly, this is very unlike the former US presidents especially during the cold war who allegedly meddled directly to determine what happened in Africa.

These former US leaders, recognizing the strategic importance of Africa’s natural resources and market size, did everything in collaboration with their NATO allies to ensure that they installed puppets who would dance to their tunes.

Strongmen like Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara and Murtala Mohammed, who did not dance to their tunes, were either assassinated or overthrown through military coups. Untill the Obama administration, the US still meddled in African politics until the last strongman of Africa, Muammar Gaddafi was killed.

Now that Donald Trump through his words and body language has reduced US meddling in Africa, her leaders must swiftly take advantage of this rare opportunity to develop their countries, using their internal resources.

African leaders must focus more on building strong institutions in their various countries and give room to democracy mixed with good governance. African leaders can also use this time to unite and build an indivisibly formidable continent that speaks with one voice at the international political system until they are able to renegotiate the unequal economic and political relationships that exist between them and the West.

Trump’s less interest in Africa means no more meddling and no divide and rule politics –“Africa go and develop yourself”. Sadly, African leaders have failed to read Trump’s body language.

Meanwhile, the US through its public affairs officer at the US Consulate General in Lagos, has said she will not favour or support any candidate. Below is the excerpt.

“We are not favouring or supporting any candidate. It is up to the Nigerian people to decide. Our candidate is the process. The process should be free and fair, it should be a non-violent process. I am not talking of any plus or minus of any candidate, we are not favouring any candidate. We are not trying to influence the success of any candidate. That is not our role.”

The US’ policy of neutrality towards the forthcoming Nigerian elections further reinforces Trump’s policy of retreat from Africa. This current US position is unlike the 2015 elections where Obama allegedly meddled in the elections, as claimed by Jonathan in his book, My Transition Hour.

Based on this green light and beyond being elected freely by the electorate, the next president must take full advantage of the US’ less interest in Nigeria’s internal politics.

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