Historical Significance of Africa-US Relations
America’s relationship with Africa predates the founding of the country, and it is time to evolve America’s misconceptions about Africa.
Africa’s Role in Global Climate Change
A Continent Under Threat
Africa is currently the country most affected by climate change, but it can also have a significant impact on global climate change due to the importance of the Congo Basin rainforests, which are the second most affected by heat after the Amazon rainforest. Destroying this vital ecosystem could further increase global warming.
If residents of the region come into contact with wild animals, the region may become the center of an international epidemic.
Challenges: -Conflict and Migration
Economic and Social Impact
Natural and man-made problems can lead to large-scale migration of people across the continent and abroad, which can negatively impact economic, social, and political stability. More coordinated prevention and intervention planning can mitigate the impact of natural disasters while reducing geo-political tension.
Africa’s Demographic and Population Trends
A Continent on the Rise
The African continent is the second largest continent in the world, and its growth rate is second only to Asia, India specifically. The continent is home to 54 internationally recognized sovereign countries, four territories and two independent states, and currently has a population of 1.3 billion. By 2050, the country’s population is expected to reach 2.4 billion.
The populations of more than half of Africa’s 54 nations will more than double by 2050, the result of sustained high fertility and improving mortality rates. The continent will then be home to at least 25% of the world’s population, compared with less than 10% in 1950. Expansion on this scale is unprecedented; Whereas, the population of Asia will have multiplied by a factor of four in this timeframe, Africa’s will have risen tenfold. By 2050, the populations of east and west Africa will each exceed that of Europe.
The sheer weight of numbers must bring about a reimagining of African countries and their populations. This growth will account for an ever-increasing number of educated citizens who will be future innovators and visionaries. This alone will impact geopolitics, global trade, technological development, the future of the world’s dominant religions, patterns of migration – almost every aspect of life. More widespread familiarity with the continent’s diverse demographic characteristics and trajectories is a good entry point to this reimagining.
Youthful Population: Opportunities and Risks
The population of African countries is also quite young. Approximately 40% of Africans are under 15 years of age, and in some countries, more than 50% are under 25 years of age. By 2050, two out of every five children born in the world will be in Africa.
Digital Era and Economic Potential
Many young Africans have skipped the analog era and jumped straight into the digital era. They know technology and create a huge potential for customers and businesses.
The Risk of Discontented Youth
On the other hand, if African countries cannot develop their economies and create good jobs for these young people, they will face the risk of the potential recruitment of bad people and bad people. Teenagers Are Disgruntled and Discontented.
Economic and Security Challenges
Projections indicate that Africa will outperform the world in economic growth. According to Bird Story Agency, Africa’s gross domestic product will be 4% over the next year, then grow at consistently higher rates than other regions. Economist Jeffrey Sachs believes such trends show that “Africa can and will rise to a growth of 7% or more per year consistently in the coming decades.” “Africa will be the fast-growing part of the world economy. Africa is the place to invest,” he noted during the release of Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook Report in January 2023.
Impact of Financial Opportunities and Urbanization
Africa’s top five performing economies before the covid-19 pandemic are expected to grow by over 5.5% on average in 2023-2024 and reclaim their position among the world’s ten fastest-growing economies.
Those include Rwanda, which is projected to grow by 7.9%, Côte d’Ivoire by 7.1%, Benin by 6.4%, Ethiopia by 6.0%, and Tanzania by 5.6%. There is a group of other African countries that are also expected to grow their economies by more than 5.5% in the same period. Those include Niger at 9,6%, Senegal at 9.4%, The Democratic Republic of Congo at 6.8%, The Gambia at 6.4%, Mozambique at 6.5% and Togo at 6.3%.
Vulnerabilities Leading to Civil Unrest
Countries that lack adequate infrastructure, education, and employment face the risk of civil unrest and radicalization. Inadequate health services, in particular, along with natural disasters such as floods and floods, limit food production, causing hunger and the displacement of large populations. Amplifying community voice and economic opportunities strengthen social cohesion and political balance.
Evolution of US Policy towards Africa
Pre-Cold War Era to Post-Cold War Shift
Before World War II, US policy in Africa was not as strong as in Europe, Asia, or Latin America. During the Cold War, African politics was viewed primarily through the lens of superpower rivalry.
The Growing Role of China in Africa
The end of the Cold War and the rise of international terrorism, as well as competition from China and increasing Chinese involvement in Africa, make it an important part of the US African engagement. The US must engage African nations as mutually beneficial partnership opportunities. The US must refrain from extractive engagements and see Africa as a growing economic and cultural force with formidable talents and capacity that requires respect and reciprocal cooperation. The US would be wise to recognize and value Black Americans as its resource and competitive advantage to China and Russian growing roles in Africa.
Obama’s Perspective on Africa
US President Barack Obama said the following before his first visit to Kenya: “America has become an idea rather than a real place. We chose Africa with the advantage of distance.” Although the legislation is bipartisan in nature, it would be a good explanation of US policy towards African countries. The United States faces many internal and external challenges and cannot continue to ignore Africa. Going forward, U.S. policy must change drastically to foster and leverage genuine, authentic, and highly favorable policy priorities that value and respect Africa’s place among international growth sectors.
Biden’s Administration and Africa’s Challenges
Biden’s new administration will face many important problems and challenges in formulating its Africa policy.
According to University World News, African students who apply to study at universities and colleges in the United States experience the highest visa refusal rates of all international students applying to study in the US with more than half of all applicants rejected in 2022.
By 2030, just seven years from now, young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of the world’s youth population, and by 2050 are expected to number 1.1 billion. It would be wise for the US to see the value and benefit to our higher education institutions – who are seeing declining enrollment rates- to fill empty seats at our colleges with highly talented African students.
The trends outlined in The Interview of a Lifetime suggest that the United States is poised to lose out in the competition for students – just at the time that the American colleges and universities will be in the grips of what demographers call the ‘demographic cliff’, the drop each year of some 500,000 students from the cohort born following the 2008 financial crisis – note the report’s authors, Dr Rajika Bhandari and Jill Welch, both senior advisers to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. It is counterproductive and downright self-destructive to deny such a high volume of future leaders of Africa.
The Diversity Visa Program (DVP) is one of our most effective tools in strengthening U.S. ties in the region. It is also one of the most maligned and consistently imperiled.
The DVP issues 50,000 visas each year to nationals of countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Its goal is to diversify the flow of U.S. immigration, providing a dedicated stream of annual immigration from countries that send few migrants to the U.S. The DVP is often called the visa lottery because the visas are distributed in a computerized lottery among the millions of applicants who apply each year.
The DVP has been one of the biggest drivers of annual African migration to the United States over the past two decades — accomplishing the goal of strengthening economic and cultural ties to the continent through orderly immigration pathways. Still, it often meets pushback from Republicans and is wielded as a negotiating concession by Democrats. As insecurity about the program’s future mounts and Chinese and Russian influence in Africa grows, abolishing the program without preserving pathways for Africans would be a strategic mistake.
From 1995 to 2016, Africa received 39 percent of DVP visas. Scholars at the Migration Policy Institute wrote, “It is not surprising that African immigrants are overrepresented in the diversity program, given that they are underrepresented in the general immigrant population and the program is designed to promote pluralism in immigration flow.” Since 1995, more than 400,000 people from nearly every African country have received diversity visas. In FY 2023, Africa was issued more diversity visas than any other region.
The US must recognize the immense value of extending immigration opportunities to emergingcountries of Africa. As the continent with five of the top ten fastest growing economies, the US must understand that these countries greater opportunities in these countries the best positioned when they are bolstered and represented by people who native to the country.
Healthcare in Africa: A Critical Concern
Strengthening Health Systems
Health in Africa is important not only to build resistance to infectious diseases but also to strengthen weak health systems, as some existing health centers and medical facilities do not work properly, and most health workers are underpaid.
Budgetary Challenges and Global Comparisons
The World Bank estimates that government spending in sub-Saharan African countries will be 40% of all healthcare spending by 2019, better than the world average of 60%. Compared to the rest of the world, African governments spend only 2% of GDP on health; This rate is lower than the 3.5% share in the world. In addition, Africa has the largest share of health expenditure in the world, accounting for 37% of health expenditure compared to 18% in the rest of the world.