While the world fascinates itself and rediscovers, like every 4 years, the American system to be elected president, Africans also get interested in this election. That’s what the report African Youth Survey 2020 tells us by focusing, among other things, on the influence of the US on the African youth.
By Simon Vermot Desroches
The whole world is watching the United States of America for the past hours and wondering who will be the next president of the first world power. And it is also the case in Africa. In Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, the US election was on the top trending search on Google on the 4th of November. And the reason why is simple, the coming president will impact Africans’ lives. This is one point that comes out of the study African Youth Survey 2020, ordered by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, called after Ivor Ichikowitz, a South-African businessman, and realized by the consulting firm PSB Research. 4200 young Africans coming from 14 countries have been interrogated. The US’s impact in their life can mainly be seen in economic sectors, since 83% of respondents consider that the US’s actions toward the continent are positive, placing it in front of every other country. 22% of Africans also think that Donald Trump will be the one with the most important impact on their life in the coming five years, followed by Bill Gates (13%), Mark Zuckerberg (10%), and the Chinese president Xi Jinping (9%).
China, the USA, and Africa in the middle
And the presence of Xi Jinping is not the only Chinese incursion in those pools, mainly because China is considered as the first country that heavily influences the continent’s affairs. And the privileged relationship that China is building on the continent is also a big issue of the US election for Africa. The trade war between the two giants of the world started when Donald Trump became president, and it places some African countries in an awkward position. Could the reelection of the current president exacerbate to a new level those relations and put African countries in a situation when they have to choose between significant Chinese investment in facilities and cut every relationship with the US? Anyway, the presence of China shows, for Ivor Ichikowitz, that the relationships between the US and Africa must evolve: “The United States must recognize the ‘opportunity continent’ that Africa has swiftly become; one with a cross-continental spirit of entrepreneurship, 61% of our youth agreeing their country is building a climate for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive. Eight in ten (81%) believe that technology will change the fortunes of Africa. This is the world’s largest collective marketplace of the future, shouting to the world that while they are autonomously highly-capable, they have established a start-up culture and are willing to shape new forms of partnerships. This information offers unique insight and direction on the role the United States can and should play in Africa.”
Success stories as an entrance door
And mainly by using their assets towards African youth, which is fascinated by American success stories. “Today, our young people admire the US type celebrity-status success can bring and are paying greater attention to not only the opportunities for achievement but more importantly, the systemic challenges that have hindered it,” Ivor Ichikowitz explains. And there are proofs. The aura of Nelson Mandala is untouchable, with 55% of young African seeing him as the person with the most significant impact on their lives, but he’s followed by Barack Obama (12%), Donald Trump and Bill Gates (6%), Americans and with their own success story. “It’s further important to recognize the deep influences American culture, American politics, and indeed the actions of American policy-makers have woven upon our continent’s social fabric, our very value system. Decisions taken in Washington have a profound impact on Africa,” the businessman concludes.
For more information about the report African Youth Survey 2020 :
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