With US president Donald Trump closing in on his first 100 days in office there are early indications of what shape his Africa policy might take. They are not encouraging.
Since being sworn in the President has had the US’s overseas development activities in its sights. In February Mr Trump announced he was seeking a 37% cut to State Department and USAID budgets, threatening critical funding for international aid agencies.
Other initiatives to be targeted include the repealing of a measure to force oil and mining companies to publish payments to foreign governments and scaling back efforts to curb the conflict minerals trade.
The brunt of all this will be felt in Africa, which remains a major aid recipient. The administration’s pursuit of these changes at a time the UN is warning of the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945, and famine looming in Somalia, South Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, only reinforces the impression that Africa is not a priority.
The current mood is perhaps best captured by the news that a planned Africa trade conference at the University of Southern California recently had to be cancelled as none of the participants from the continent were granted visas.
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