President Trump really has not had any discernible agenda for Africa, says Melvin Foote (MF).
Very little has been done by President Trump in articulating and fostering a concise African policy, added Foote, President of the Washington, DC based Constituency for Africa.
In addition to not paying a visit to Africa in his first term, the President’s utterances and actions have not been helpful in forging stronger ties with Africa, says Foote, a highly respected veteran of African Affairs in the Washington, DC circuit.
Fielding questions from Pan African Visions (PAV), Foote says the upcoming Presidential elections will have profound implications on how the U.S interacts with Africa and the rest of the world.
“Should Trump win re-election, we certainly should not expect anything of significance for Africa and certainly no new initiatives. On the other hand, should Vice-President Biden wins, we can certainly expect a stronger hand of friendship coming from the U.S., although the attention of President Biden will most certainly be on responding to the COVID-19 impact in the U.S,” says Foote.
“While clearly President Trump has not engaged much with African-Americans during these four years, African-Americans have not done well with the Democratic Party either as both sides routinely promise things in exchange for votes, but deliver little,” Foote charged.
Still, the CFA leader believes that the African American vote could be decisive in swaying the election either way and for this to happen, their turnout must mirror 2008 levels when President Obama won the elections, Foote says.
PAV: The emotional responses from Africa during the George Floyd troubles included calls from the Minister of Culture for aggrieved African Americans to come back “home,” what is it that African countries could do to build bridges to its diaspora?
MF: Africa and African people are certainly coming to realize the potential of the African Diaspora, for remittances, for trade promotion, for tourism, etc.
Thus, the African Union’s launching of the Diaspora as the “Sixth Region” in 2012! However, much work remains to be done in Africa and here in the Diaspora, to make this Sixth Region a functional reality. The biggest challenge is to how we can develop an “operational concept of unification,” that allows African-Americans, African immigrants, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Europeans, etc., to cooperate!
PAV: What plans does the Constituency For Africa that you lead have for the 2020 annual Ron Brown African Affairs Series?
MF: The CFA 2020 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series will take place virtually, between September 12 – 19. The theme for the Series this year is, “Advocating for Africa in the Mist of the Pandemic!” While most of the Africa-focused organizations in the U.S. have disappeared, or have severely reduced their programming during the Coronavirus pandemic, CFA has clearly adjusted and continues to respond to the call of Africa, albeit with minimum resources.
In some respect the programming is even better today in that we have much better access with the use of ZOOM and other information technologies, to reach leaders across Africa and throughout the Diaspora around the world! We are planning to release the agenda for the 2020 RHB Series next week.