Much has been written about the effect of a Trump Presidency on Africa. From foreign aid to purchase of Nigeria’s oil to visa restrictions his presidency has been analyzed all from the perspective of what his presidency could mean for Africa.
However, a New York Investors in Africa and Managing Partner at Nexus Capital Markets, David S. Levin is has provided a different perspective about the Trump election. This time, it’s what African leaders can do to attract Trump.
In an Op-ed featured in CNBC, he takes a view of Trump the man and uses that to explain how African leaders can use a Trump presidency to their maximum benefit.
Firstly, he believes we should approach Trump based on what he is known for, a businessman.
However, to comprehend how he will approach Africa and other geopolitical interests, one needs to understand what makes Donald Trump who he is. First and foremost, he’s a businessman. A negotiator. A dealmaker. A salesman. A closer. A showman. And second, he’s a New Yorker. Brash, in your face and no-holds barred. And he will become indignant if you cross him.
As a businessman, Trump sees everything through a single lens – return on investment (ROI). This is what he has based every business decision on for over 40 years. It’s the tape measure in his toolkit. It quantifies what he gets back on his investments. And now, as president, he will apply that same ratio to foreign policy to measure what America gets back from its allies. Simply stated, what is their ROI to the US? It is clear that Trump will run his administration more as a businessman and CEO, and less as a politician. On his desk in the Oval Office should be a nameplate that reads;
“Donald J. Trump: President and Dealmaker in Chief.”
Since most businessmen take ROI as a major reason for getting involved in deals, approaching Trump with a deal he can’t refuse (instead of going cap in hand for aid) could just be the best way for Africa to catch his attention.
The door remains very much open to them to reach out and appeal to Trump the businessman. Trump the dealmaker. Trump the negotiator. Trump the salesman. His ego would welcome it. African countries have the opportunity to change their relationship with the US – and take ownership of that process – instead of just waiting to see what Trump does. By acting proactively, it enables Africa to potentially increase its ROI – and change its link to the US from that of “donor-recipient” to one based on mutual benefit. And that’s a deal that Donald Trump the businessman will make every time.
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