By Prince Kurupati
Projections by the majority of mainstream media outlets in the US point towards a convincing Joe Biden victory in the 2020 Presidential Election race. Bar any miracle that may impede Joe Biden from being inaugurated, former Senator Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President in the history of the US.
Joe Biden’s victory is of great significance to American politics as well as American people as it means that for the first time since 1988, a former Vice President will be rising to occupy the highest office in the land that is, the Oval Office. At the same time, Joe Biden’s victory means that for the first time, America will have a female Vice President – a first black female Vice President – and a first Asian-American female Vice President in Kamala Harris!
Well, Joe Biden’s victory is not just significant to American politics and the American people only. America is one of the biggest economies globally and whatever happens in the country affects all the other countries including African countries. Looking ahead to Joe Biden’s presidential term, many African governments foresee great partnerships between their countries and the new administration in the US. Several African leaders have already sent their congratulatory messages to the President-Elect hoping for amicable relations. Below, we share some of the messages that have been sent by African leaders to the President-Elect.
The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a Twitter post said, “We congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and the American people on your election. We look forward to working with you and deepening our bonds of friendship and cooperation.”
During the Apartheid era when the white minority was discriminating against the black majority, Joe Biden was one of the American leaders who condemned the Apartheid government and as such, many can expect the new American president to amicably cooperate with the current administration in South Africa.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted, “President-Elect Biden’s remarkable track record gives us hope that he will add value to the presidency and world affairs. We look forward to greater cooperation between Nigeria and the United States, especially at economic, diplomatic, political and security levels.”
With a huge Nigerian population in the US, Nigeria will be hoping that the new US administration is accommodative to all immigrants. Nigeria will also be hoping that the new US administration will be accommodative to Nigerian interests on the global stage unlike the outgoing administration which on several occasions clashed with the Nigerian government most notably during the re-election campaign of African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumni Adesina and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s race for the World Trade Organization presidency.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is one of the persons under US sanctions sent his congratulatory messages to the President Elect hoping for a return to amicable relations between the US and Zimbabwe. In a tweet, the Zimbabwean president said, “On behalf of all Zimbabweans, a huge congratulations to President Elect @Joe Biden on his election victory. Zimbabwe wishes you every success in leading the American people. I look forward to working with you to increase cooperation between our two nations.”
Zimbabwe will be hoping that its re-engagement drive with the US will be given a new lease of life under the new US administration. Zimbabwe has been facing the US and EU sanctions for years over rights abuses and irregular elections during the leadership of late President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabweans now hope the new US administration might lift the sanctions, allowing it to benefit from trade deals and international assistance.
The new Ethiopian administration of Abiy Ahmed may have won the hearts of many both on the African continent and beyond but it certainly did not win the heart of Donald Trump and his administration. During Trump’s term, relations between Ethiopia and the US have been at its lowest recently. The Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.
The major reason behind the worsening Ethiopia-US relations was Ethiopia’s withdrawal from Washington-sponsored Nile Dam talks after the Trump administration had penned a document which only needed the signature of the Prime Minister, but Abiy Ahmed decided not to sign it saying it favours the interest of Egypt. As a new administration comes into the fray, Ethiopia is hoping that the Ethiopia-US relations are on the mend.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni sent a rather ‘unique’ congratulatory message as he said that the new US administration will help foster Christian relations between Uganda and the US. In a Tweet, Ugandan President said, “H.E @JoeBiden, President-Elect of the USA. Congratulations and greetings from the People of Uganda. The USA, with its black population of 47.4m people, as well as a large Christian population linked with us by faith, could easily be a natural ally of Uganda and Africa.”
Some analysts say that Museveni’s congratulatory message is a cryptic way of saying that his country still abides by its decision to criminalize same-sex relations and marriages. A few years back, bad blood ensued after the US threatened to stop sending aid to Uganda if the country sticks to its stance of criminalizing same-sex relations.
Namibian President in his congratulatory message said that his country still remembers the significant role that Joe Biden during the Apartheid era in South Africa.
In a Tweet, the Namibian President Hage Geingob said, “I congratulate @JoeBiden on his victory. During our struggle for freedom, we came to know him as a Senator who opposed Apartheid in South Africa and the region. I look forward to working with @JoeBiden for stronger bilateral relations and multilateralism for a fairer world.”
Zambian President Edgar Lungu in a press statement congratulated President-Elect Joe Biden on his victory to become the 46th President of the United States of America. President Lungu said his country has enjoyed stable relations with the US for a long time and hopes that this relation will continue as is.
In his press statement, the Zambian President acknowledged the work that the US has been doing in helping his government on the economic and social front stating “the United States remains one of Zambia’s strategic partners that over the years has rendered invaluable support to economic development and welfare through various initiatives and projects under the Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among other areas.”
A whole host of other African leaders also sent out their congratulatory messages. These include leaders for Sierra Leone, Gabon, Liberia, Egypt, Ghana, Niger, and Somalia.