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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 6th December 2018

White House discovers Africa

Blue Lines

Those criticising the Trump Administration for its lack of interest in Africa may find themselves being more careful what they wish for. About two years late, a form of United States policy towards Africa is taking shape sometimes with the overt connivance of regional leaders, other times as part of a critique of certain regimes.

For now, Trump's favourites are easy enough to identify. Top of the class is Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el Sisi who was the first international leader to congratulate Trump on his election win in November 2016. Sisi has kept up the momentum, tying himself close to the US's regional allies, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, and their policies in Africa and the Middle East.

Algeria and Nigeria, two former nationalist bastions, are boosting counter-terrorism cooperation with the US. We hear that Nigeria is making a regional pitch, alongside Chad and Niger, for US aerial surveillance intelligence and, most recently, drone strikes against positions suspected to be controlled by Islamic State in West Africa and their former allies in Boko Haram.

Then there are the oppositional positions. Tibor Nagy, newly appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, promises a tough line on election shenanigans in Congo-Kinshasa. Also, a group in the US Congress called on President Paul Kagame to drop all charges against would-be presidential candidate Diane Rwigara.

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