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Trump, Africa and our future

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Africa is likely to slide down the list of foreign policy priorities of a Donald Trump administration. This is because America’s foreign policy is determined by both domestic and foreign issues.

When it comes to domestic factors Trump is not going to be open to lobbying by the African diaspora in the US which has, historically, always played an important role in pushing African policy and keeping the continent on the domestic agenda. But this constituency hasn’t helped Trump at all in this election so there’s no need for any payback. And I think that the kind of visibility Africa had is also going to fall in social movements and society in general in the US.

Trump is also unlikely to have any tolerance for the idea that the African diaspora is part of the “sixth region” of Africa. The African Union recognises people of African decent who live outside the continent as the sixth region, in addition to southern, eastern, central, western and northern Africa.

This isn’t going to be something that is of much concern to the new president-elect.

In addition, I think that he is going to be intolerant and disinterested in issues around the domestic politics of African countries. That is unless – as he was very clear in his acceptance speech – they strongly impinge on American national interests.

For example, I don’t think he is going to be very interested in what is happening in Somalia or Ethiopia or in other parts of Africa where there may be conflict. Trump hasn’t got a great capacity for detail, so at best he will live by macro assessments.

The other break with tradition is that it’s impossible to predict who he will chose as his assistant-secretary of state for Africa. As a follower of foreign policy over the past 40 years it has been possible, in nearly all instances, to know who the new incumbent is likely to be. Examples include Chester Crocker, Hank Cohen and Susan Rice. Now with Trump, we simply have no indication.

With this in mind I think it is really important for African countries, including South Africa, to be very conscious, constructive and conspicuous in their choices of ambassador. These appointments will be crucial in opening the doors to the new Trump administration. The worst that African countries can do, however difficult it will be politically, would be to show their displeasure and hold their noses.

Security will be a major issue

Security is going to be a major issue on Trump’s foreign policy agenda. This points directly at the US African Command, which was established in 2007. Africom, as it is generally known, is one of six of the US Defence Department’s “geographic combatant commands and is responsible to the Secretary of Defence for military relations with African nations, the African Union and African regional security organisations”.

When it comes to American policy in Africa, Africom is very likely to emerge as its central piece. Given Trump’s expressed, belligerent views on the Muslim world, Africom will be set to be the lynchpin. I think African countries should resist this because it is central to American ideology in the world and will bring African countries into conflict with China. But whether African states will in fact resist is a different issue.

In fact, I think one of the issues African leaders will have to be careful about now is how they have to manage their relationships with China and the US. The US has been a little bit lackadaisical in its approach to Africa while China has made great strides on the continent. Not all, in my view, bad. The US will in all likelihood resist the inroads China has made, an issue African leaders will have to manage with kid gloves.

Trade won’t be a given

The African Growth and Opportunity Act AGOA, which came into effect 16 years ago, is aimed at expanding US trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa. It is supposed to “stimulate economic growth, to encourage economic integration, and to facilitate sub-Saharan Africa’s integration into the global economy”.

There’s still some life left in the act. But it’s clear that Trump is protectionist. He is not going to tolerate any expansion or extension of the agreement, or any misunderstandings. This means American trade policy under Trump needs to be watched closely.

There is also likely to be a decline in aid to Africa from the US. For some African countries aid from the US is absolutely crucial. Take Malawi for example, where it is essential and necessary. As a businessman Trump will want something in return and it’s unlikely he will get his sort of returns on investment from most African countries. His possible response will be that of a reality show host – eject any errant contestants.

Another factor that will affect investment is that Trump is going to improve American infrastructure. I think he is going to borrow and he is going to use the money to rebuild the US because that is his project, to “make America great again”. He will most certainly not care if it comes at the expense of aid to or trade with a number African countries.

The next four years promise to test Africa’s place in the world. The lodestars by which we have understood politics such as rightwing, fiscal conservative, social conservative are all going to be overturned.

Source: http://theconversation.com/

 Professor of Humanities and the Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), University of Johannesburg

International

What you need to know about COVID-19 AKA Coronavirus

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The World Health Organisation define Coronavirus as below:

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The World Health Organisation recommends the following safety measures against Coronavirus as below:

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. COVID-19 is still affecting mostly people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether

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 How Trump Won – Through working class whites

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Donald J. Trump pulled off an unexpected victory early on Wednesday morning, becoming the 45th president-elect. Polls were unable to anticipate the large turnout of white, working-class voters in key states.

Donald J. Trump won the presidency by riding an enormous wave of support among white working-class voters.

It was always a possibility, but it had always looked unlikely. Hillary Clinton led in nearly every national poll — and in other surveys in the states worth the requisite 270 electoral votes.

The traditional view of recent American elections gave even more reason to think Mrs. Clinton was safe. National exit polls suggested that President Obama won the 2012 presidential election despite faring worse among white voters than any Democrat since Walter Mondale. Those polls showed that white voters without a degree were now just one-third of the electorate. It was interpreted to mean that there was not much room for additional Democratic losses, especially once a white Democrat replaced Mr. Obama on the ballot.

The truth was that Democrats were far more dependent on white working-class voters than many believed.

In the end, the bastions of industrial-era Democratic strength among white working-class voters fell to Mr. Trump. So did many of the areas where Mr. Obama fared best in 2008 and 2012. In the end, the linchpin of Mr. Obama’s winning coalition broke hard to the Republicans.

The Wyoming River Valley of Pennsylvania — which includes Scranton and Wilkes-Barre — voted for Mr. Trump. It had voted for Mr. Obama by double digits.

Youngstown, Ohio, where Mr. Obama won by more than 20 points in 2012, was basically a draw. Mr. Trump swept the string of traditionally Democratic and old industrial towns along Lake Erie. Counties that supported Mr. Obama in 2012 voted for Mr. Trump by 20 points.

The rural countryside of the North swung overwhelmingly to Mr. Trump. Most obvious was Iowa, where Mr. Obama won easily in 2012 but where Mr. Trump prevailed easily. These gains extended east, across Wisconsin and Michigan to New England. Mr. Trump won Maine’s Second Congressional District by 12 points; Mr. Obama had won it by eight points.

These gains went far beyond what many believed was possible. But Mr. Obama was strong among white working-class Northerners, and that meant there was a lot of room for a Democrat to fall.

That fact was obscured by national exit polls that showed Mr. Obama faring worse among white voters than any Democratic nominee since 1984. But Mr. Obama fared very poorly only among white voters in the South. He ran well ahead of Mrs. Clinton just about everywhere else.

The exit polls also systematically underestimated the importance of these white working-class voters to Democrats. In general, they overestimated the number of well-educated and nonwhite voters.

GRAPHIC

How Trump Won the Election According to Exit Polls

Based on exit polls, the 2016 presidential election seems to have dramatically redefined how certain demographic groups vote.

The result was that many post-election analysts in 2012 underestimated the number of white working-class voters over age 45 by around 10 million.

Despite all this, Mrs. Clinton was still considered a clear favorite heading into the election. The polls showed her ahead nationwide. She was ahead in virtually all of the polls in the Midwestern states that cost her the election.

But Mrs. Clinton’s lead was not unassailable. The Upshot’s model gave Mr. Trump a 15 percent chance of winning the election.

Mrs. Clinton’s odds were about the same as making a 37-yard field goal in an N.F.L. game. For some, that will not seem an appropriate acknowledgment of the uncertainty. But the point is that field-goal kickers frequently miss 37-yard field goals. It is also not especially uncommon for the polls to miss a three- or four-point race.

And it is not as though the pollsters hadn’t missed a field goal in a long time. The polls underestimated the Republicans in the 2014 midterms; they underestimated the Democrats in 2012; and in Britain they were off by a modest but comparable amount on the Brexit vote.

In this election, the polls will not end up being off by very much nationally. Indeed, Mrs. Clinton will almost certainly carry the popular vote — perhaps by more than one percentage point. The national polls gave Mrs. Clinton a four-point lead in the final stretch; the final New York Times/CBS News poll had Mrs. Clinton up by three.

Taken in totality, Mrs. Clinton probably did win Hispanic voters by a big margin, as pre-election polls predicted. She probably did make big gains among white voters with a college degree — though it’s unclear whether she won them.

But the polls were wrong about one big thing: They missed Mrs. Clinton’s margin in the Midwestern states, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The exact mechanism for the error is unclear. Perhaps undecided voters broke for Mr. Trump; maybe there really were “silent” voters for him, people who were reluctant to tell pollsters that they backed him. Perhaps it took a lot breaking Mr. Trump’s way: Maybe Republican voters came home to the party over the last week in well-educated suburbs, while undecided white working-class voters broke for Mr. Trump.

But what’s clear is that the error wasn’t simply about the public polls. Even the data team helping Mr. Trump was not forecasting a victory. The Clinton team, which ran its own polls as all campaigns do, was convinced it was on track to victory. It barely even aired advertisements in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

In the end, many of the factors that made Mrs. Clinton appear favored to win in these states simply weren’t there. She didn’t win heavily Hispanic counties in Florida by the wide margins that many expected — only slightly outperforming Mr. Obama in Miami-Dade County and the Orlando-Kissimmee area, even as she outperformed in Texas and California. And she didn’t over-perform in the Philadelphia area, even as she posted huge margins in the Chicago area and Seattle.

Whatever gains she made among well-educated and Hispanic voters nationwide either didn’t occur to the same extent in the key battlegrounds, or were overwhelmed by Mr. Trump’s huge appeal to white voters without a degree.

Source: New York Times

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Rand plummets as Trump takes early lead

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Emerging market stocks and currencies were rocked by early results from the US election. 

The Mexican peso, a barometer of Trump’s fortunes, tumbled the most in eight years to its weakest level on record, while the Turkish lira sank to an all-time low and the South African rand fell the most in four weeks as traders dumped all but the safest assets.

A gauge of developing-nation equities retreated the most in almost two months. Shares in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Indonesia declined.

Democrat Clinton and Trump were locked in a close race, with the Republican nominee leading by close margins in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina — all states that he needs to have a path to the White House. Markets have rallied this week on speculation a Clinton win will benefit developing markets after Trump put forward protectionist pledges that may affect trade, including ties with Mexico and China.

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“It’s pretty clear at this stage of the count there’s a swing back towards Trump and markets don’t like it,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Markets are having a wobble right now.”

The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency dropped 0,7% at 11.13am in Hong Kong, halting a two-day gain, as 10-day historical volatility jumped to the highest level this month. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1,4%.

The peso slumped the most since October 2008 to halt a four-day gain. The Mexican currency became one of the world’s most volatile currencies over the past month as traders weighed the prospects that Trump could score an upset win in the presidential race and make good on pledges to renegotiate the free-trade agreement that’s transformed Mexico into an export powerhouse.

The rand tumbled 3,5% and the lira weakened 2,4%, while Korea’s won lost 1,3%.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 4%, Korea’s Kospi dropped 2,8% and Taiwan’s Taiex lost 2,2%. Stocks in Malaysia, Korea and Shanghai declined at least 0,7%.  —

Source: Bloomberg LP

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