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After his inauguration on Friday, Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. His decidedly short inauguration speech evoked his central narrative of populism and domestic focus, with very little foray into policy detail.
Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Trump’s plans for Africa

Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016 - a day set to be remembered in history books.
The historic and shocking victory of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016. Flummoxed by what is now being dubbed ‘the biggest political upset in modern history’, global markets shuddered, commentators reeled; and we all stood momentarily, mouths agape, letting the news set in.
Eight years ago the American people voted for “Yes, we can”, Barack Obama’s politics of hope. Eight years ago many across the world were celebrating the election of the first African-American president and the new politics that it might bring. But over the last eight years we have seen a rise in political extremes both in the US and across Europe.
The unexpected presidential win by Donald Trump has sent shock waves across the globe, largely because during his presidential campaign a series of highly controversial statements were made by the Republican candidate on women, the fight against terrorism, migration and global warming.
At long last, the most bruising and sometimes farcical election in recent US history has come to a close. What seemed unthinkable to many just a year ago has happened and Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. While markets have slumped in response, one thing is certain: nearly half of the US population is now faced with a president that they resolutely view as unfit to lead.
In the run-up to this year’s presidential elections in the US, SAIIA’s experts will be providing weekly updates on the key developments, with a view to how the issues at stake might affect South Africa and Africa.
The 2016 US presidential elections are just around the corner, and the world has been watching closely as this year’s particularly colourful and controversial campaigns have unfolded. Last week, when South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Nkoana Maite-Mashabane, was asked about her position on the US elections, she responded that she does not really care who wins. This begs the question: can Africa’s most sophisticated economy afford to ignore the US elections?
In March 2016 President Barak Obama undertook a historic visit to Cuba, becoming the first American president to visit the island in 88 years. He has held talks with President Raul Castro in Havana. While diplomatic ties have been restored between the two countries, many issues remain unresolved.
The US Congress passed the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Act into law in 2000 in order to promote US and African trade relations and contribute to economic development on the African continent through export-led growth. AGOA and the US – African trade relationship has been placed under the spotlight in recent months, particularly with regards to the extension of the Act towards September 2015 and around South Africa’s continued benefits under the programme (as the largest AGOA beneficiary). 
The US-South African trade relationship has garnered significant attention over the past couple of months, following US President Barack Obama’s notice to South Africa that the country’s benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will be suspended if it continues to impose longstanding trade barriers to US trade.
On 2 February, SAIIA hosted a talk by Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa and Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Assistant US Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy. They discussed issues related to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the future of the trade relationship between the US and South Africa.
Just this week, US President Barak Obama set a new deadline with regards to South Africa's privileges under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a non-reciprocal trade preference programme which provides duty-free access to the US market for certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.
United States President Obama’s announcement earlier this month to Congress to partly suspend South Africa’s benefits under the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) is likely set the tone of the AGOA agreement going forward, following the extension of the initiative earlier this year.
On the sidelines of this week’s OECD meetings in Paris, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and US Trade Representative Mike Froman will try and overcome the protracted dispute between the two countries on chicken exports.
The bill to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the United States’ cornerstone African development initiative, has finally arrived in Congress in the form of the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015.
At the recent University of the Witwatersrand’s Mandela Institute Conference on the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Security Bill, National Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa provided the keynote address. From the various presentations at the Conference, held on 19 March 2015, it became apparent that there is a disconnect between South Africa’s national security imperatives and its trade and investment policy.
Negotiations for an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have been in the headlines recently, as the Act's September 2015 expiration deadline looms. This non-reciprocal trade preference programme provides duty-free access to the US market for certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 127, February 2015
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 115, November 2014
The South African Institute of International Affairs, the University of Pretoria and the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa will be holding a discussion with Catherine A. Novelli, United States Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. This event is by invite only.  
In response to its beheading of two US journalists and the havoc the Islamic State group (IS) has created in the Syrian and Iraqi region, US president Barack Obama recently laid out his vision for confronting IS to his country’s citizenry. He presented a four step strategy which essentially consists of building an international coalition, without involving US 'boots on the ground', that would support the Iraqi military and 'moderate' Syrian rebels in confronting IS and wresting territory back from its control.
It has been nearly six years since Vice President Dick Cheney left Washington when the Bush administration ended. This past week, Cheney offered a stinging rebuttal of President Barack Obama’s strategy against ISIS - in advance of the president’s speech. Just hours before Obama appeared on television, Cheney spoke at a leading conservative think tank in Washington to an audience that was like a convention of the right-wing faithful, hoping to strap on their weapons and do battle once again, one more time.
The US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, 4 to 6 August 2014, is the first such event of its kind and the largest event any US President has held with African heads of state and government. At its core, it is about fostering stronger ties between the US and Africa, and is expected to advance the Obama Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa.
This week African leaders have descended on Washington, DC for the first ever US-Africa Leaders Summit. African leaders are expected to arrive with a long list of items to address with President Barack Obama, with the need to expeditiously reauthorise the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) near the top of the list.
On September 30, 2015, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will expire. The act provides duty free access to the US, and if it lapses could threaten 62,395 jobs in South Africa alone.
Among the key themes of the US-Africa Business Forum, organised as an important core event during the upcoming US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, energy is recognised as a priority issue for Africa and the growing US partnership with African states.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 100, July 2014
The upcoming US-Africa summit on 5-6 August 2014, the first of its kind, includes the promotion of democracy on its agenda. This dimension sets itself apart from the plethora of other high level summits involving the engagement of emerging powers with Africa. Why is this important and how can the US engage meaningfully in the promotion of democracy on the continent?
The US-Africa Leaders’ Summit takes place from 4 to 6 August, and is the first such event of its kind. The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) has been following developments in US-Africa relations in recent years, and has put together a set of resources to help observers and the media understand the dynamics at play.
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