Clinton a better option for Africa – analysts

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Windhoek – Local political analysts are convinced US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of the Democrat Party would be the best person for US-Namibia relations and Africa generally, as opposed to her fierce rival, Republican Party candidate Donald Trump, whose policies on trade and job creation are widely seen as isolationist.

This, they say, is because the multi-billionaire Trump has made it an open secret that he would not work with African leaders, whom he has termed corrupt.

Trump even hinted he would go as far cutting off US aid to Africa.
Clinton – by virtue being of a Democrat – is seen by many as possibly the better candidate for Africa. One analyst did however express concern over how well she knows the continent’s leaders, despite her recent stint as US Secretary of State.

Speaking to New Era yesterday while North American citizens were voting in droves, law expert Prof Nico Horn said both Democratic and Republican leaders have been kind to Africa over the years.

“The Republicans have also been very gracious when it comes to Africa, because when you look at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, it started before President [Barack] Obama. It was there during the time of former [Republican] President George W. Bush,” Horn explained.

Some analysts have previously said despite initial pessimism from Africans when George W. Bush ascended to the White House, Bush – unlike Obama – appeared to have a more coherent strategy on how to approach the continent and what he wanted to accomplish in Africa.

When Bush came into office there were civil wars raging in Sudan, Congo, Angola, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and by the end of his first term those civil wars were over.

In his second term Bush concentrated more on development. Horn said, be that as it may, none of the two current candidates are really known for their foreign relations credentials.

“Clinton loves America and she does not have a good relationship [with some other countries], like Russia, dating back to her time as Secretary of State,” he said.

“Trump on the other hand would be the worst choice for Africa and the world, as he made it clear that African leaders are corrupt and said he would cut aid to Africa. He is not really interested in Africa and won’t be a good choice. Maybe if he wins he will cool down, but at this stage he is bad for international relations and bad news for Africa.”

Horn, however, added that if and when Clinton wins, Africa and the world should not expect miracles from her, but opined that from a perspective of “democratic principles” she would be a better choice for Africa.
Graham Hopwood, the executive director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which has a representative in the US to observe those elections, also leaned more towards Clinton.

“This is the most momentous US election for many years, mainly because there is such a stark choice between Trump and Clinton,” he suggested. “While Clinton is the candidate of the Democrat establishment, Trump is the most extreme Republican candidate since at least Barry Goldwater in 1964,” he observed, adding that Trump is a dangerous populist and his election would spell serious trouble for minorities in the USA, including Africans in the diaspora, who could find themselves profiled as potential terrorists.

According to Hopwood, given that Trump’s campaign was dominated by xenophobia and paranoia about homeland security it would probably inform his foreign policy towards Africa. “I don’t think a Trump administration would be interested in broader development issues in Africa and it’s likely that foreign aid would be cut.”

He added: “I do hope he receives an electoral drubbing on the scale of Goldwater in 1964 – who only won six states compared to Lyndon Johnson’s forty-four – because his policies and rhetoric are so offensive.”

It is Hopwood’s assessment that Clinton’s general policy approach towards Africa would be more constructive. He believes she has signficant experience in dealing with African states from her time as Secretary of State, but said: “Clinton’s Achilles’ heel is her support for American interventionism, for example in Libya and Iraq. If she does initiate an aggressive foreign policy this could undermine the humanitarian efforts of her administration.”

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