Donald John Trump, an American businessman was penultimate Friday sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America.
Following his constant nationalist rhetorics on trade and other matters coupled with his scant reference to African issues right from his campaign period, there are fears that America’s relationship with Africa would change.
Could this truly be the case? What are the implications of Trump’s Presidency for Africa? Do African countries stand to gain or lose anything with Trump at the helm of affairs in US? These are some of the questions our Deputy Editor (Features), Calista Ezeaku put to some members of the public. Our Photographer, Dele Obinna, captured their images.
Mr Ibituru Pepple, Coordinator, NIJ Implications of Trump’s presidency for Africa? Well, I will particularise it to Nigeria which is my own domain. During his campaign, he talked about entry of Africans into the United States, especially those who have nothing to offer, that they will be shown the way out. And of course he has made good his threat by signing into law the policy on the wall separating America and Mexico and equally indicating those that will be granted entry into America. Some races and religious sects for now will not be allowed entry into America. I think that portends danger. On the economic side, l believe that Trump’s Presidency will be favourable to Nigeria because it will keep us on our toes, making us to make good use of what we have here rather than looking outside. Trump has said it many times that America’ s money should be for Americans. Unlike what obtained during Obama’s regime, Trump wants to cut down on foreign missions and aids and concentrate more on the economy of America. Africa should learn to be contented. Nigeria is rich. Nigeria doesn’t need to depend on foreign aids. What we have is bad leadership, corruption everywhere. We need to look inwards and try to better our economy instead of depending on other countries. We should be giving and not receiving.
Mr Villar Herve, French instructor
I think it’s very early for us to judge Trump. Let us give him time and allow him to deal with the problems of the United States first because charity begins at home. After that, l believe that he will turn his eyes on Africa. I believe that Trump will help us. He is a businessman by the way and he wants Africans to learn how to do things by themselves instead of depending on the western world. I believe that leadership belongs to business people. Just look at what is happening in Benin Republic now. Their current President is a businessman and he has given himself only one tenure to put things in order. From the experience garnered from their businesses, they know how to manage affairs of their countries. We need more people like that in Africa not leaders who cannot even handle their homes not to talk of their nations.
Mr Ifeanyi Onianwa, medical lab scientist
Well, if you listened to Trump recently, you will know that Trump believes he is going to look inwards, that he is thinking America first, every other nations come second. Africa has to take advantage of it and look inwards equally because that is the only way we can develop. This idea of begging for foreign aids all the time when we have so much that would have made us even richer than the United States must stop. You see, the truth about the matter is that we don’t venture and Trump being a businessman believes in venturing into unknown terrains. Perhaps, out of such venture, you will come out with something. Africa is so blessed. We have so many things to our advantage. Talk of weather, vegetation, talk of the environment. The environment is so friendly that if you fall back to what God has given to Africa, we can even feed the whole world. America does not have the landmass that we have here. What they have is technology. Africa can equally have technology. It’s just that we don’t want to develop our own technology. We are still relying on foreign aids. So, if we can disengage from the western world (not completely anyway because we have to grow gradually), it becomes a challenge to us and it will strengthen us and we will come out strong. If Trump decides to wall off Africa and some other countries and focus on America, l don’t have any problem with that. If your place is good, why go to another place? And if you are running away from your place, who develops it for you? The world leaders intellectually today are Nigerians and Africans. They can come back and develop their own continent. If you talk of space, Africans are there. If they have done what they ought to have done, perhaps, Trump’s statement wouldn’t have arisen in the first place. Trump sees Africans as very lazy people and he does not want that because you cannot have all the resources around you and you are running to a place that has no resources. So we have to wake up and begin to use what we have to develop our place. We have intellectuals especially in the universities.. We have a lot of research in the university system. Government should come out to fund these researches. Government should take a bold step to make sure that some of these research findings are implemented. We have what it takes to grow but the point is that the encouragement is not there.
Miss Tammy William, Journalist
Well I really don’t think that there is anything cynical about his intentions to make America great. Trump is a man that has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America and as other elected officials , he has the rights to reel out his blueprints on what he thinks his country needs. Let us not forget the fact that Trump is a business man and a very successful one at that. A lot of people might think that his policies might be a threat to others , especially we in Africa. But it might not really be. Personally, l’m a strong advocate for people being able to do the right thing. If Americans deem it fit that any country that comes for them for aid should get it, then so be it. I say this because we’ve seen situations where a lot of people go for aids and at the end of the day the aids were not used for what they were meant for. Why are we afraid that he is not going to give us aids? Such apprehension simply says that we’ve been doing wrong things in the past and now this person has come and insists on the right things being done and we are afraid that he will see our bad attitudes and might refuse to do what we ask of him.
That said, I believe Trump’ s Presidency will benefit Africa in some ways because he is an objective man. He says things the way they are. A lot of people are tired of hearing speeches that will make them happy, excited but at the end nothing happens. Now America has somebody that has come to tell them “look if you do this, l will do that”. I believe that Africa needs good leaders like that too. Africa needs the right kind of people and l’m sure that with Trump as the president of America, Africa will enjoy a sense of right leadership in the sense that any leader who tries to continue in their past ways will be corrected by America. That’s why we call America the world’s police.-
Mr Udoh Jack, an Accountant I don’t think Trump ‘s Presidency holds much promises for Africa. Already, during his campaign, he said it was better for them to come back and recolonise Africa for about a hundred years before they can hand over to the next generation. So, having such mindset, I don’t think the man will want to have anything to do with Africa. During his inaugural speech, he emphasised America first. So, knowing the man’s disposition already, our leaders are expected to think of how to develop our continent. We have the resources and all that we need to grow, our leaders should begin to look inwards, develop what you have. They should stop relying on foreign aids. Every time, we are talking of borrowing from World Bank, IMF, China and the rest of them. That has to stop. The lesson is, we must look inwards and develop what we have and make our region a better place to live.