What Africa can Expect from the US in Foreign Policy

In the wake of controversial picks for Trump’s cabinet, the spotlight turns to his appointed choice for Secretary of State, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States government. After a brief interlude with Mitt Romney, which would certainly be a favourite pick among Republicans, Donald Trump showed that he would continue with his anti-establishment agenda and decided instead to recommend Rex Tillerson for the role.

Rex Tillerson is an experienced executive of the Oil and Gas industry, with 41 years working in ExxonMobil. Tillerson ascended to become the company’s chairman and CEO in 2006, roles that he occupied until the end of 2016 when he finally left the company. He was nominated US Secretary of State on early February.

However, more than one month into the role, a large number of vacancies in the US State Department are still to be filled. Adding this to the isolationist rhetoric Trump has preaching and to the recent proposed cut in funding to the State Department make one think that American foreign affairs will not be a top priority in the Trump presidency.

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Trump Effect on the African Oil

After the shock post November 8th with the results of the American presidential election, the world started studying what a Trump presidency in the USA would mean to the international markets and geopolitical environment. Africa is one of the largest exporters of raw commodities to the USA and will certainly experience changes in the trading dynamics with the world power once Donald Trump assumes his place in the White House, on 20 January 2017.

Among the raw products Africa exports, crude oil has a prominent place. The continent’s oil exporters had the USA as its largest buyer of the product until quite recently. In 2005, the USA imported 1.8 million barrels per day of crude oil from Sub-Saharan African countries. This figure remained fairly constant until 2010 when the USA’s domestic production of the commodity reached historically high levels.

By 2015, the USA was importing only 274 thousand barrels per day from Sub-Saharan Africa. The high revenues countries such as Nigeria and Angola extracted from oil, started to dry up. Could a Trump administration possibly revert this trend and propel the USA to buy more of the African crude oil once again?

Trump Effect on the Oil Industry

After the shock post November 8th with the result of the US presidential election, the world started studying what a Trump presidency in the USA would mean to the international markets and geopolitical environment. The vast majority of the polls and political analysts were wrong in their predictions on the outcome of this election. Hillary Clinton was the favourite, praised by the media and anticipated to defend Obama’s legacy in most policy aspects. The international markets would continue operating business as usual, and Brexit would have been the only bump in the road in 2016.