Africa is not on the top priority of US list
BY SAMUEL MATHEY
International consultant and professor of economics
I am of those believing the three paradigms of the US president being elected for the American people’s best interests (not to serve any foreign country or continent’s interests) and on the continuity of administration in democratic regimes, as well as the team dynamic of any administration (many programs are designed by agencies and just time cross a presidential term).
Africa is not on the top priority of US list as Africa receives only about 1% of the total global U.S. FDI flows, and on the U.S. aid to Africa, Egypt receives between 25 and 33 per cent with the other 53 African countries sharing the rest. An evaluation could land in positive and negative sides analysis. The positive part, I believe, could be embodied in three programs: the YALI (a capacity-building program for 500 African young leaders on a yearly basis); the Power Africa program with seven billion dollars committed for five years to increasing energy production in Africa; and the symbolisms, a number of symbolic actions: trip to support entrepreneurship in Kenya; the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Millennium Challenge Account program, both of which support trade with the US.
The three negative perceptions felt by Africans and expressed whenever I travel across the continent are on : the numerous attempts to force gay rights on African countries, the US AFRICOM that did not engage (from most Africans’ perspective) in solving the terrorists threats in Nigeria and Mali, and the weak or mixed signals to non democratic regimes on the continent.
What, then, does Africa need from the new administration? The new administration will help Africa’s cause for the next four years if the following three could be on their priority list: create diverse programs that will support young African entrepreneurs; send a clear message to non-democratic regimes across the continent with more support to democracy fighters; and engage AFRICOM in advanced support to combat terrorism in Nigeria, Kenya and Mali.
I strongly believe that the creation of opportunities and programs for young African entrepreneurs in technology transfer, funding, exposure to-top notch American start-ups will help the continent’s entrepreneurs emulate and solidify their ventures expansion. A situation that will help reduce poverty, illegal immigration, and improve economic conditions on the continent.
Conversely, the continent is plagued with decades-old dictators who are now clad in fake democratic outfits and are halting any real democratic transition. The US, taking into account their past experiences on the continent, can help peaceful democratic transition in those countries. In addition to entrepreneurs program and peaceful democratic transition, the new administration will be in a win-win tide with a more aggressive AFRICOM that supports national African armies.
Dr. Samuel Mathey is an international consultant and professor of economics and management specialized on issues of entrepreneurship, debt and finance. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and an MBA from the University of Delaware and the Ohio State University. He’s also been a serial entrepreneur before going into academics, being the founder of a dozen companies, and employer of over 200 people in his last venture. Dr Mathey is the founder of AFFEED, a foundation promoting entrepreneurship and the concept of entrepreneurs with Zero Capital and of GOUVBAROMETRE (www.gouvbarometre.com), a website where citizens can rate ministers of their government and elected officials).
He teaches in the United States, Europe and Africa at various business schools (HEC Paris, BEM Dakar, ECG…). Dr. Mathey has worked with major consulting, auditing and accounting firms (including KPMG and PwC) and for different governments and institutions consulting projects (US government, World Bank…)
Dr. Mathey has recently been instrumental in the forging of the Ivorian national Strategic Development Plan 2016–2020 as a coordinator for the private sector participation as well as the forging of the National SME Development Strategic Plan. He has been a key adviser to the first Ivoirian minister of entrepreneurship and SME, and was in charge of the National Entrepreneurship and SME policy and strategy. Dr. Mathey is a contributor and an expert on economics and entrepreneurship issues with several prominent news organizations across Africa and Europe (Africa 24 TV, Tycoon Magazine…). He’s a member of several associations, including the Academy of Management, the American Economic Association, the Black MBA Association (the umbrella-organization of black American business intelligentsia).