by Jean-Jacques Cornish
It is said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose.
US president-elect Donald Trump’s campaigned with a knuckle sandwich and is moving towards governing with blankety-blank.
He divided supporters and opponents between delight and horror at what he did on the hustings. They are united now in complete ignorance about what in earth he is doing.
My favorite writer on Africa Michaela Wrong commented that Donald Trump is teaching Americans the real meaning of the devil is in the detail.
What a painful lesson it will be from someone not merely economical truth, but often a total stranger to it.
Trump says one thing on camera in the morning and denies any knowledge of it after lunch.
Small wonder the policy watchers, who have made a career of knowing within days whom an approaching president might appoint and what policies his administration might implement, remain completely in the dark.
Just yesterday he demolished two cornerstones of his campaign: bringing “crooked Hillary” to justice via a special prosecutor and blocking US payments to fighting the “Chinese hoax” of climate change.
The Donald does not have toothier telling us his threats were just locker room talk or marketing because he has dozens of people clamoring for the jobs he has in his favor assuring us it is no big deal.
What hope then of even guessing what a Trump administration plans to do about Africa.
Our continent did not feature in the campaign. Foreign policy seldom does.
Since the sixties, Africa has managed to elbow its way onto the US domestic agenda.
I have heard no convincing argument that Africa will slide down the priorities of the Trump administration.
For starters, there is no payback from the Donald for any African leader because as far as can be ascertained then opposed him to a man – or woman, in the case of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president who lamented Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
Whoever he appoints as his undersecretary of state for Africa will his or her work cut out explaining to him the concept of the African diaspora, of which the US is a major component, as the fifth region of continent.
Africans are expecting a Trump administrations to be intolerant and disinterested in Africa where is impinges on the hardline American domestic interest.
But will it go further than this?
Will there be a decline in US investment in Africa?
What will become of the 16-year-old African Growth and Opportunity Act that gives African favoured access to US markets?
Could it go the same way as other trade deals the protectionists Trump is promising to tear up?
So African analysts are reduced to putting a brave face on what might happened if things go as badly as currently expected.
If there is a decline in US aid, it will help break the cycle of dependence.
If access to US markets is curtailed, it will force African to work as improving intra-African trade.
And if Africa is repelled by the US, it would team the continent is driven even closer to China.