Trump should put ‘America First’ by treating African nations as partners

by: Jim Inhofe

President Trump’s “America First” agenda has reshaped our country in a bold, great way. Our taxes are lower, we have fewer regulations, the economy is roaring and millions of new jobs are being created. It’s working.

For too long, the United States has considered Africa an aid project — one where we pour billions of dollars into countries in hopes they will grow. This short-sighted perspective has caused us to fall behind and leaves us vulnerable.

Trump needs to bring his “America First” approach to Africa. He needs to set aside the old, outdated mindset of the State Department and do what no other president has ever done — advance American interests by treating African nations as partners.

African nations want this too. Just look at Rwanda. Less than 20 years ago, Rwanda’s economy was nearly 70% foreign aid. Now, it’s down to a third. I was there in October and their progress is clear — the economy is booming. They’ll reach their stated goal of being self-sufficient very quickly.

Trump’s meeting Friday with Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, marks the start of a new approach to Africa. Kagame is a visionary leader, and he’s highly influential across the continent. He was chosen by his peers to be the next chairman of the African Union after he led reform efforts and outlined a future for Africa that is capable of taking care of itself. His goal is to lead African nations out of dependency so they have real partnerships with countries abroad.

Trump has the opportunity to chart a new course in Africa focused on achieving mutual goals. “America First” in Africa means building constructive relationships to advance our economic and security goals. China is already doing this; without action by Trump, we will fall behind.

African nations are becoming significant economic powers. Between now and 2030, their economies, as a bloc, are expected to grow by a rate of 5% per year. They’ll double.

Continue reading on the USA Today.

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