What does a Biden Administration mean for Africa?

A Revival of a Mutual Respect Cooperation

In exactly 2 months, Joe Biden should be officially seated as the 46th president of the United States although we often feel like it will play out differently this time. As a matter of fact, the leaving President Donald Trump has still not conceded. He keeps pressuring on states officials and even GOP members for a fraud he is still failing to prove. He even fired the first director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Christopher C. Krebs because he still considers the election “inaccurate”. Whatever it is, he will likely be forced out of the White House next January if he still refuses to concede without an evidence to back his claims. Regarding Joe Biden, we have to wonder what kind of relations his administration will be having with Africa from now on.

A Rupture with the Previous Administration

The Biden administration, still under construction, is expected to be a tad different from its predecessor for many reasons and that alone should break a lot of locks and open doors closed by Trump. Highly inspired by the tradition of the GOP ideology, Trump’s “America first” policy undermined a lot of work done by Barack Obama during his 8 years in office. GOP has traditionally been conservative although Donald Trump pushed it a bit too far. From the controversial Travel Ban to the famous Wall, Trump’s politics has been – even though understandable at some extents – too harsh in a post-modernist world. Humanity has tasted liberalism and it’s no longer possible to bring it back to an age of protectionism for too long. Once you pull a wizard out of a bottle, you can never put it back in. During his entire career in the White House, Donald Trump has never set foot in Africa, not even once. He obviously talked less about the continent and the few times he did, he said things most people don’t appreciate (from “lazy people” to “shit holes”). Joe Biden’s administration is expected to follow a different path since Biden himself has been few times in Africa as a vice-president.

A Revival of a Mutual Respect Cooperation

Following the first projection of Joe Biden as the winner, African leaders did not miss the opportunity to address their congratulations and express their hopes for a brighter and stronger cooperation based on mutual respect. The Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba has been the first to address his congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their election to the Presidency. He continued that “Our countries have always been loyal allies. The close relationship built over decades will grow even stronger in the future.” Later on, many of them (the African leaders) followed on and focused on “working together” as well as “building strong relations” with the new administration. With Biden in the White House, it’s expected that projects like the YALI – Young African Leaders Initiative, a programme launched by Obama in 2010 – or the Fulbright Program will be kept alive and even improved. Besides, Joe Biden reassures that he wants to restore diplomatic ties with institutions (such as the African Union) and African governments as he promises to organize a summit of African heads of state, just like Barack Obama had already done in 2014. Those actions should be enough to forge concrete links with his African counterparts. It’s important to note that Biden benefits from the expertise of some famous names in American diplomacy, such as the diplomat Nicholas Burns or Susan Rice, the former African affairs officer under Bill Clinton.

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