President Donald Trump has 679 days left in office, as of today March 12, 2019, unless he wins re-election in November next year. And by the end of this year, his campaign for another term in power would be in full flight and may not afford him the opportunity to visit Africa.
In the past few months, and especially this week, Trump dispatched senior officials to Africa to promote trade and investment ties and counter China’s expansion on the continent.
This week, Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, flew to Africa to meet with officials and business leaders in South Africa and Angola.
The Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Mr Tibor Nagy, is also visiting four African countries. On Monday and Tuesday, he was in Kigali, Rwanda. He would also visit Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. It is his third trip since he was sworn into office late last year.
The Under Secretary of State for political Affairs, Mr David Hale, was also in Africa weeks ago to try to promote ties in the northern part of the continent.
Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, has not announced any African tour.
But the National Security Adviser, John Bolton, unveiled the Trump administration new US-Africa policy in December.
Bolton said the United States would promote bilateral trade agreements against block or continental agreements such as AGOA.
The United States would not also waste resources on some UN peace missions, but would be very much involved in the fight against terrorism, Bolton announced at the Heritage Foundation in Washington last December.
These latest moves by the Trump administration may douse some tension created by utterances attributed to President Trump in 2017.
Although Mr Trump denied referring to African countries as shit-hole nations, his lack of clear policy directions and engagements, tended to give some credence to those who have argued that he did not care about Africa.
Those people cite even the color of the skin of all his top officials for Africa, who are all white, in a continent vastly black, to argue that Mr Trump does not have much respect for black people and the black continent.
But President Trump has repeatedly denied being a racist and has said he loves Africa, a continent where his friends come to get rich as he put it.
There is still a lot of scepticism about Mr Trump’s seriousness on Africa, and many have argued that it is all talks without any concrete plans or steps to be more engaged with the continent and counter China and Russia.
Still, if the latest trips by senior officials are to be taken seriously, the Trump administration may be really serious about reviving deteriorating relations with a continent that vastly sees America as friend and big brother.
However, the question remains, will President Trump himself, not his officials, visit Africa before he leaves office in January 2021 or or four years after that?
Only time would tell.