How will a Biden presidency influence reproductive and women’s health and development on the African continent?

Anne Baber Wallis


History says, don't hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up,

And hope and history rhyme.


- Seamus Heaney, as quoted by US Presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden, 21 August 2020, Democratic National Convention.

While the combined histories of the United States and the countries Africa have been radically transformed over the past four centuries; the deepest continental connection has probably happened during the Presidency of Barack H. Obama, son of Kenyan father and an American mother. Obama’s Vice President and now President-Elect Joseph R. Biden and his Vice President, Kamala Harris – herself a daughter of Africa – will arrive in Washington, DC, with positive attitudes towards Africa that we expect to be reflected in a renewed US commitment to the continent.

History reminds us that from America’s original sin of enslaving Africans to more enlightened development alliances, the shifts and turns often reflect presidential leadership. For decades, the US has been the largest donor to the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, United Nations health-related organizations; and has provided important leadership through Department of State Programs, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In stark contrast, during the past four years, the Trump Administration dismantled Obama-era foreign policy, including funding for development and aid programs and retraction of the CDC’s global role in disease prevention and control. As President, Trump was uniquely disrespectful to the countries of Africa and his foreign policy motivations were nationalistic and isolationist.

Full Text:



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Should Think About Power. Foreign Affairs, November/December 2020.


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