Africa and the United States trade rose marginally from $55bn to $56bn from 2017 to 2019. It is not uncommon for Incoming US presidents to come into office without having a clear strategy for Africa. Power Africa and Prosper Africa initiatives by the last two US presidents were unveiled much later in their tenures.
However, The Trump administration renegotiated the transatlantic trade and investment partnership which will cover 60% of GDP. Moreover, the U.S., the EU, Japan, and 21 other countries negotiated the Trade in Services agreement—a Free Trade Agreement that focuses on liberalizing barriers to trade in services. Africa is not a party to any of these regional mega-trade negotiations with the United States.
Africa may well in the future be positioned for such trade deals. The IMF projects that Africa is set to growth at sub 4% levels until 2025. The demographic and integration of democracies support Africa’s strong potential. China clearly sees Africa as a frontier for growth. Regardless, the current US-Africa trade relationship is not robust enough, it relies on the export of commodities, mostly crude. So, there’s a need for increased integration for manufactured and finished goods in the trade basket.
African countries are not hanging about for outside intervention. The AFCTA already ratified by 30 countries, removes barriers to trade and potentially paves the way for the economic/trade bloc. Thus, the tide might be changing as Africa will be looking to play on different terms in the future. The US has better start making up for lost time very shortly, although the sheer size of their consumer market will mean they will always be accepted