Don't Repeat Trump's Mistake on Trade with African Nations
July 9, 2021
This commentary was originally published in Devex on June 10, 2021.
U.S. president Joe Biden has been right about much of his evolving policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. He has rescinded travel restrictions implemented under his predecessor, reengaged with the World Health Organization, rejoined the Paris Agreement, and directed his diplomats to focus on the conflict in Ethiopia, among other measures.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration is at risk of getting it wrong on trade and investment with the region. Like former U.S. president Donald Trump, Biden’s administration appears resistant to the idea of a sectoral focus for the Prosper Africa initiative, which aims to significantly increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and African nations.
To correct course early in the term, the White House should identify two or three sectors of priority—selected to advance U.S. competitiveness globally and meet African investment needs—and promote them at home and abroad.