Africa Elections Immigration Trade

US power shift a reason for celebration in Africa?

The US presidential race is in the final stages now. While vote counting is still ongoing, indications at this stage show that voters are leaning towards Democratic party candidate Joe Biden, both in the popular vote and in the electoral college vote.

While at this juncture, we will not go into explaining the dynamics of the US electoral system, it’s enough to say that pulling a vote on both fronts is a good indication for the leading party.

In a move that sounds very much like an African election headline, the American media carried reports that the incumbent president’s campaign team has sued to stop vote-counting in some states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. The effect of that lawsuit remains to be seen.

The top job in the USA is a matter not only affecting the citizens of the USA but also the global citizens at large. For this reason, the world is glued on the election proceedings which have proved to be a true seat gripper.

As we wait to see the outcome of the Elections, the question remains: should Africa celebrate a Biden victory?

It’s fair to assume that Africans still identify with former president Barack Obama. After all, his roots run deep in the continent. Obama endorsed Biden, therefore, is a natural favourite for many on the continent.

Also read: Opinion: African impact of the Sino-American trade war

Joe Biden with Barack Obama

There are expectations of more stable US relations across the globe if Biden takes office. This would see a more amicable settlement of the raging trade war which threatens not only economic positions but if not handled well may escalate into full-blown political chaos.

With Biden in office, it is anticipated that Trump’s America First policies that have had serious repercussions on immigration laws may be repealed or at the least relaxed. For example, as it stands, Nigerians can not get the type of US visa that can ultimately give permanent residence authorization.

Sub-Saharan Immigrants to the US

In addition, African student visas for 36 countries had been proposed to be cut to two years under the Trump administration. This would make it increasingly difficult for African students to pursue 4-year degree programs in the states. This makes a Biden win more appealing for Africans.

Other hints at an anti-African stance include Trump’s utterances describing African countries in a demeaning manner. Moreover, recently the US opposed the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the top post of the World Trade Organisation, an appointment that Africa was more than happy to begin celebrating.

If indications by officials in the democratic party are anything to go by. It looks most likely that the Biden administration will restore America’s World Health Organisation subscription, as well as honour the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, Africa should celebrate with their feet firmly on the ground. Just like Obama’s time in office failed to yield much of what was expected, it is entirely possible to place unattainable expectations on a Biden victory.

The trade war that the incumbent president started may not be something to simply fix over a cup of coffee. This may demand a lot for the administration to try and fix America and in their own way “make America great again.” There is a possibility that a Biden win could simply mean more stability of the American economy with very little trickle-down effect on Africa.

Original article on The Exchange

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