Nations don’t have allies, they have interests
BY SALIOU AKADIRI
Benin’s former foreign minister
Ironically, walking in the footsteps of Barack Obama who went down in history in 2008 as the first black president of the United States, Donald Trump, who has never held an elected office, just made history by pulling an unprecedented upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Will Trump be able to meet the expectations from people in the United States and around the world? What will be the Africa policy of the New York billionaire with limited—if any—knowledge of Africa?
Before President Obama, from whom Africans excessively expected a massive financial assistance out of naivete because of his African origin, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were the initiators of two key programs: The African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, signed into law by Clinton in May 2000 to allow duty-free access to U.S. markets for thousands of products from Africa; and Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account, MCA, which led to key accomplishments in many sectors, including the judiciary, real estate, finances, commerce, energy and more. While the Obama administration significantly enhanced these programs, the effort failed to meet the African people’s expectations. What, then, can or should Donald Trump do for Africa?
It’s often said that “the future of the world lies in Africa,” or “the 21st century belongs to Africa.” The reality is that 16 years into the 21st century, Africa has never been poorer or more marginalized. In this context, President Trump should—unlike his predecessor—initiate a specific program for Africa in the line of the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War II. Moreover, women and the youth, who constitute more than half of the African population, should receive a special attention from the Trump administration in the form of significant programs in handicraft and training programs for the youth. Nations don’t have allies, they have interests. And people are always best served by themselves. Africa should, therefore, be able to handle her own destiny if she can work her way into the decision-making spheres of the world’s governance bodies with President Trump’s assistance.
Saliou Akadiri, a fine diplomat turned politician
Saliou Akadiri, a former foreign minister of Benin and a career diplomat who has served for decades overseas, notably in France, is a fine product of renowned schools and a key member of the Benin’s intelligentsia. A 1971 graduate of the elite, regionally-famous Lycée Béhanzin of his native country, he crowned his education with a D.E.S.S. (Specialized Higher Studies Diploma) in Development and Cooperation (1985) at Université de Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Law, with International relations as his major, from Université du Dahomey (1975); and a degree in diplomacy from Ecole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature of Benin (1978), among others.
Prior to rising to the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs (2015-2016), M. Akadiri held countless positions, including the following: Acting Inspector of Foreign Affairs, Benin Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2008); Chief of Staff of the General Adminitrator of the Intergovernmental Agency of Francophone countries (1998-2006); Director of the Europe Desk, Benin Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997-1998), and Minister Counselor in charge of Political and Legal Affairs at the Benin embassy in France (1990-1996).