The Trump administration has signaled that it is likely to scale back traditional U.S. development assistance programs in sub-Saharan Africa and favor more commercial engagement with the continent. That shift was evident in a four-page list of questions distributed to the State Department last month before Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The questions relayed skepticism from the Trump transition team about some U.S. aid programs and security policies in Africa, while asking, for example, “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese?”
Paradoxically, such a shift could be healthy for America’s relationship with Africa. It is high time that the United States recognize the continent’s underappreciated investment potential—and the power of the U.S. private sector to play a transformative role in the next stage of the continent’s growth.