On the back of long fought battle, United States (US) Republican candidate, Donald Trump’s presidential victory has not only impacted the political world, but stirred global economies as uncertainty looms. While the world appears to lament Trumps surprising win, the Republican Party also won the House of Representatives and the Senate, reflecting a largely Republican-dominated government and by extension, republican foreign policy. As world markets have steadied in recent hours, analysts have reined in on the impact that Trumps victory may have on the continent.
Cape Town based political economist Mustapha Khan says Americans can expect the obvious Republican rhetoric to dominate policy decisions.
“A trump presidency means nothing, until he starts actually being the president and that’s where things get a little bit uncertain,” he said.
Since Trump has largely omitted Africa from his foreign policy statements, Khan asserts that this stance may be a positive indication that not much should be expected to change for the continent’s relations with America.
Alternatively, he notes that it may suggest that Africa is not “relevant enough”.
Khan says that African nations can expect to see an increase of US military bases on the continent under Africa, to allegedly combat Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and other fringe rebel groupings.
“You can expect this to be done to impose the military presence of the US in Africa through the ‘carrot and stick’ approach; so aid instead of trade for military presence,” he explained.
Economically, the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), which allows for duty-free exporting of African goods to the US, has provided African nations with a competitive advantage.
Reflecting on the uncertainty of Trump’s expected foreign policy, he says that Trump has already indicated that he will review AGOA, a trade decision that is reviewed every eight to ten years.
“Essentially that is going to hit us, because he wants to impose a 15 per cent import tariff on all South African goods landing in the US; it’s going to make our products more expensive and decrease our competitive advantage.”
With regard to the impact that the US election results has had on the rand, Khan says that the rand fluctuated, increasing from R13.18 to R13.80, finally settling at R13.55 to the dollar.
“The markets don’t like uncertainty; uncertainty globally causes uncertainty locally. So, since investors are risk averse, the moment they see something they don’t understand, they move.”
Calling attention to Trump’s campaign and the accompanying divisive language, he asserts that emotions within minority communities have been shaken by his victory.
“Muslims have found themselves in the middle of international, political and economic disorder. Trumps election would have awoken us from that slumber, if we think that we are not affected by world events,” Khan added.
Following Trumps win, Khan notes that South African Muslims can expect increased surveillance, but says that “interestingly” the proposed ban against Muslims has been removed from the Republican website.