African leaders have welcomed the incoming US president on his electoral victory, expressing hope that Joe Biden’s win will boost trade and other relations between the continent and the US.
“We congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and the American people on your election. We look forward to working with you and deepening our bonds of friendship and cooperation,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on Twitter late Saturday.
Biden, 77, defeated incumbent Donald Trump Saturday, making him the first former vice president to win the Oval Office since George H. W. Bush, who won in 1988 after eight years under Ronald Reagan.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also congratulated Biden “on his election at a time of uncertainty and fear in world affairs.”
“President-Elect Biden’s remarkable track record gives us hope that he will add value to the presidency and world affairs. We look forward to greater cooperation between Nigeria and the United States, especially at economic, diplomatic, political, and security levels,” Buhari tweeted.
Also Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa offered his “huge congratulations” to Biden and wished success in leading the American people and growing cooperation between the two nations.
Zimbabwe has been facing the US sand EU sanctions for years over rights abuses and irregular elections during the leadership of late President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabweans now hope the new US administration might lift the sanctions, allowing it to benefit from trade deals and international assistance.
In his congratulatory message, President Macky Sall of Senegal said his country looks forward to continuing its excellent relations of friendship and cooperation with the US.
Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba also took to Twitter to congratulate US president-elect and vice president-elect over election win. “Our countries have always been staunch allies,” Ondimba said, adding that he is looking forward to growing the bilateral relations much stronger.
Relations between the US and some African countries have not been at their best under incumbent Donald Trump, with experts hoping the new administration might bring in hope.
Experts say Trump ignored Africa for much of his rule, occasionally blasting its leaders. They hope Biden could adopt policies that would restore cooperative links that prevailed under the Obama administration with the continent and the rest of the world.
The Sierra Leone president joined his counterparts to congratulate the “historic” win of Biden.
“Sierra Leone looks forward to a more strengthened relationship,” said Julius Maada Bio.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also congratulated Biden and Harris on their “historic” election win. “Ethiopia looks forward to working closely with you,” Abiy said.
Relations between Ethiopia and the US have been at its lowest recently. The Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.
Trump was noticeably irked by Ethiopia’s withdrawal from Washington-sponsored Nile Dam talks late February after his administration came up with a document for signing, which Ethiopia rejected saying it favors the interest of Egypt. Sudan also did not sign that agreement.
African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat also sent his congratulatory message. “The AU Commission looks forward to a new, stronger US-Africa relations based on mutual respect and shared values of international cooperation.”
*John Cassim in Harare, Zimbabwe and Addis Getachew in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contributed to this story.