Presidency Biden: A relief for Africa, or less than it seems?
JOHANNESBURG – While US President Joe Biden has brought relief to ordinary Africans by lifting the harmful travel ban that affects Muslim and African countries, experts on the continent are skeptical whether he will completely reverse the approach taken by the Trump administration.
Speaking to Anadolu, Iqbal Jassat, a Johannesburg-based Media Review Network (MRN) executive, said that following the Biden administration’s goal of reaffirming America’s superiority in global affairs, there is little room for South Africa and other developing countries. maneuver.
Sultan Kakuba, a political scientist at Kyambogo University in the Ugandan capital Kampala, said African leaders may find relief in the face of Biden’s more predictable policies as they have struggled to adjust to Trump’s mercurial moves.
Jassat said the bilateral trade balance with South Africa was sharply tilted toward the United States, highlighting Biden’s journey as vice president for eight years under Barack Obama.
“Biden was part of the Obama administration, during which political and economic issues have always been tilted in favor of the United States,” he said.
Kakuba said that while he is excited about Biden taking office, he is skeptical if it will mean friendlier policies towards Africa that will directly benefit people.
“Looking at US foreign policy, you can’t take it for granted,” Kakuba told Anadolu Agency. “America’s best interests come first in its relations with other countries.”
He downplayed expectations that, with Biden as president, Africa will automatically benefit. “As long as the United States does not respect its national interests, do not expect good relations. So if you are ready to promote American interests, they will work with you, ”he said.
He noted, however, that the new US administration had brought some relief to ordinary Africans who found it difficult to travel to the United States after Trump introduced numerous visa restrictions, including travel bans for some Muslim countries.
End of travel ban welcome
“While much remains to be done, this is an important and necessary step to reverse the abusive policies of the Trump administration,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement at the end of the travel ban .
Kakuba also said he hopes the resurgence of racism seen during the Trump era could be controlled by the Biden.
He said Trump’s rhetoric led to the deaths of many blacks at the hands of white police. He said that for this reason, black Americans and Africans in general should rejoice and expect the new administration to address this issue.
Jassat said his Media Review Network group was skeptical whether, despite all the hype generated by the Biden administration about democracy, it will offer a level playing field in the UN Security Council.
More representative UN Security Council
South Africa called for comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, calling for increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats from 15 to 26.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, too, has long advocated for broader and more inclusive representation on the Security Council, under the slogan “The world is greater than five”, referring to its five permanent members.
In his speech last fall to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged the assembly to increase the representation of African countries on the Security Council.
Jassat said that an equally important consideration for South Africa is whether the devastating effects of the illegal war on terror will be recognized as a serious violation of civil rights.
“Restitution, torture, incarceration, etc. cannot be allowed to continue, and unless the Biden administration revokes these heinous laws, we remain skeptical, ”he said.