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With the shock of Donald Trump’s presidency still hanging over our nation, many Americans take comfort in asking themselves, “How much can Trump really do?” Considering his first week of presidency, the answer is: a lot.

Within his first week, Trump began repealing the Obama administration’s key advancements—elements of Obamacare and various environmental preservation efforts—and arranging plans for the controversial wall on the American border with Mexico. Now, Trump threatens to pull back humanitarian aid and business efforts in Africa, a move that will have dire implications for both the U.S. and Africa.

On January 13, 2017, the New York Times reported on  a series of questions on Africa posed by the incoming Trump admnistration that challenged the importance of U.S. involvement and revealed Trump’s flawed perspective that Africa should not be prioritized in terms of foreign policy. The questions were part of a four-page list posed by Trump’s transition team to the U.S. State Department.

In one of these questions, Trump asks, “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?”

What Trump overlooks, however, are the many precautions that the government takes to avoid this—notably, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, which only provides aid to African countries that have proven that they have the benefit of their people at heart.  

More importantly, he neglects the repercussions of pulling back humanitarian aid.  Foreign involvement in Africa is crucial to the continent’s welfare and has important implications for its energy, health, economy, national security, and the environment.

Furthermore, if we retract African funding, competitors and dangerous powers will jump at the opportunity to replace American influence in Africa, allowing them to gain power. In the case of organizations such as ISIS, this will be detrimental to U.S. and international security.

Trump’s team also asks, “If most of the AGOA imports are petroleum products, with the benefits going to national oil companies, why do we support that massive benefit to corrupt regimes?” The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is meant to strengthen U.S.-African trade by allowing Africa to trade with the U.S. without paying tariffs. Trump’s election campaign relied heavily upon putting the American working class first, and his question suggests that he will likely abandon the AGOA during his presidency, which would have dangerous implications.

By supporting the repeal of  climate change initiatives for the economic benefit of national oil companies, Trump has shown concern for supporting these “corrupt regimes.” He even backed the Dakota-Access pipeline for the benefit of the major oil company Marathon Petroleum.  

Although Trump’s likely desertion of the AGOA could potentially help Africa by encouraging trade between African nations, it will cause more harm than good for both Africa and the U.S. Already, African countries account for less than two percent of intercontinental trade, and so the threat of a further decrease in trade due to Trump’s foreign policy would be extremely damaging to their economies. Although petroleum products are admittedly the most prevalent, AGOA imports include an array of other essential products such as clothes, machinery, food, and technology, which promote industry in both the U.S. and Africa.

Furthermore, the AGOA benefits both nations by strengthening the trade relationship between the U.S. and Africa, as two-way trade between the U.S. and Africa has significantly increased since the outset of AGOA. However, the AGOA has done more than simply promote trade; it has created 420,000 jobs between the U.S. and Africa—something central to Trump’s campaign. Additionally, it provides American companies with stronger business partners and opportunities in Africa by encouraging them to implement beneficial economic policies. The AGOA also provides America with access to Africa’s abundant resources. In such a trying time for our economy, it will be extremely damaging to abandon the AGOA—the U.S. cannot afford to relinquish the economic benefits provided by this act.

Trump’s justification for abandoning African foreign policy is simply unfounded. His policies completely neglect the detrimental and avoidable effects that repealing AGOA will have on the economy and welfare in both Africa and the United States.