The burning questions that await Joe Biden in Africa

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In particular, the newly elected President of the United States will need to address the explosive situation in Ethiopia, the continued support for the democratic transition in Sudan and the handling of the Shebab threat in Somalia.

In East Africa, the first hot file to reach Joe Biden’s office is Ethiopia, reminds our correspondent in Nairobi Sébastien Nemeth. November 4 at the federal state launched an armed offensive against Tigray, a region in the north of the country that opposes power. It is impossible to know whether the clashes will continue until Joe Biden takes office on January 20, but Ethiopia will remain an urgent issue to follow.

This conflict threatens to destabilize the region. Ethiopia has become a powder keg with regular ethnic violence and a very tense election for next year. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed praised Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for what he called “a historic victory” and said “look forward to working closely” with them.

How to support the transition in Sudan?

Sudan will also be among the topics to be quickly explored for the new US president. After the revolution, the country continued its transition with a severe economic crisis and significant social tensions. It remains to be seen how Joe Biden will continue to support this transition, with what aids and what rewards.

Donald Trump had announced the lifting of sanctions against Khartoum. He initiated the process of removing the country from the list of states that sponsor terrorism. This procedure is before Congress, which will rule in early December.

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In return, Washington demanded recognition from Israel. talks are underway between the Sudanese and the Hebrew state. Here, too, it is unlikely that Joe Biden will put an end to these negotiations, which are at a fairly advanced stage.

The Sudanese Prime Minister did not make a mistake because last night, Abdallah Hamdock said he was keen to “continue to bring the two countries closer together, to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between Khartoum and Washington”.

Thank you very much, President Trump! We are very much looking forward to your official application to Congress, which repeals the appointment of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, which has cost Sudan too much. https://t.co/GeScTPfb0k

Abdalla Hamdok (@SudanPMHamdok) October 19, 2020

A change in strategy in the fight against the Shebabs?

East Africa is also a region that the Americans are keeping an eye on because of the terrorist threat posed by Somali Islamist shebabs. With the arrival of Donald Trump, the military strategy in the region had changed. In 2017, the US President signed a directive designating several Somali regions as sectors of “active hostility”.

This charter had eased the necessary procedures before a strike was launched. The number of drone bombings has therefore increased exponentially during the Trump administration.

In addition to the fact that the Shebabs are still active and these strikes have led to a series of controversies about civilian casualties. Joe Biden and his future Secretary of State must consider the continuity of this strategy. Knowing that the US presence in the region should not be questioned because the Shebab threat is still strong.

Somalia needs American cooperation all the more because the departure of 20,000 soldiers from the African amisome force is expected at the end of the year. Mogadishu therefore quickly congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. “We wish them success in their initiative and look forward to establishing close cooperation and partnership,” said Mohamed Farmajo. The Somali head of state recalled in passing that the United States was “an important ally and a partner in Somalia’s progress and development”.

To counter terrorism, the United States must still rely on its Kenyan ally in the region. Washington has soldiers in Kenya who form the Kenyan army deployed in Somalia. In the region, the Kenyan president is probably the one who congratulated Joe Biden the most.

On November 8, Uhuru Kenyatta even spoke of a “great victory” for the Democratic candidate. Nairobi is full of praise for him. “The Americans have spoken clearly when choosing a highly qualified leader,” said President Kenyatta, who describes Joe Biden as a “Kenya friend.” The Democrat visited the country, for example, in 2010, when he was vice president of Barack Obama, himself of Kenyan descent.

According to Yemane Meskel, the Eritrean Minister of Information, President Afeworki also sent a warm congratulatory message to President-elect Joe Biden. “The Eritrean head of state expresses Asmara’s desire to cultivate warm bilateral ties with the United States to promote our common goal of peace and stability in the region.”

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What positioning in the Sahel?

Until now, American doctrine has consisted of not deploying troops in Mali and the Sahel as the French or the UN do, without training local armies, to carry out temporary military operations on the ground, as was the case a few years ago in Niger, in an anti-terror operation, reminds our correspondent in Bamako, Serge Daniel.

Will this change with the new tenant in the White House? Joe Biden, will he decide to have more cross-cutting cooperation with the G5 Sahel countries, for example? Or will it, like its predecessor, instead provide the international forces in Mali and the Sahel with significant intelligence and surveillance capabilities, especially thanks to drones?

These issues are found in Bamako and the Sahel, as well as the issue of security, where Americans are currently mobilizing at least $ 50 million a year. We should know quickly if Joe Biden will reduce or increase this amount.

Meanwhile, Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou said he hoped to strengthen the cooperation that has always existed between the United States and Niger, where a US base contributes to the fight against jihadist terrorism in the Sahel.

Congratulations to the elected president @JoeBiden and the incoming vice president @KamalaHarris. I wish you every success in your new functions and found the hope to strengthen the cooperation that has always existed between our two countries. -IM https://t.co/eGViRsCKrA

Issoufou Mahamadou (@IssoufouMhm) November 8, 2020

Senegalese President Macky Sall, for his part, sent his warm congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on his Twitter account for their victory. “Senegal is very pleased to continue its excellent relations with friendship and cooperation with the United States of America,” the Senegalese head of state stressed.

My warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris for their victory. Senegal looks forward to continuing its excellent relations with friendship and cooperation with the United States of America! MISS

Macky Sall (@Macky_Sall) November 7, 2020

Finally, Alassane Ouattara also addressed his “warm congratulations” to the President and his Vice President. “Côte d’Ivoire will continue to work to strengthen the relationship between friendship and cooperation between our two countries and our two peoples,” the Ivorian president commented in a tweet published late last night.

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