Muhammadu Buhari, the 74-year-old president of Nigeria has been on an extended and secretive vacation leaving his country asking questions. Mr. Buhari’s office notified the public the reason for the president’s vacation extension was due to medical treatments in London. This unnerves many in Nigeria because of the political upheaval the nation experienced after the sudden death of their past president Umaru Yar’Adua. However, President Trump just recently spoke with Mr. Buhari to discuss U.S.-Nigeria relations, specifically concerning military arms and preparedness to combat terrorism in Nigeria.
President Trump’s meeting with Mr. Buhari comes with a two-fold sigh of relief. First, Mr. Buhari is alive and relatively health despite the ongoing rumors. Second, Mr. Trump has maintained and even improved relations with Nigeria. The U.S.-Africa relations as a whole was in unsure territory with the election of Donald Trump, and many African nations expressed their distrust and uncertainty of Trump. Yet, with this most recent meeting between Trump and Buhari, there is a bit of hope despite all the turmoil and backlash surrounding the Trump administration.
President Trump also spoke with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who is facing political turmoil within his country. According, to Mr. Zuma’s office, the meeting between the two presidents was positive and focused on reestablishing strong bilateral trade between the two nations. This is the tone that Mr. Trump has pushed for his foreign policy and trade agenda. Mr. Trump is looking to renegotiate virtually all U.S. foreign relations to form solely bilateral agreements that will be mutually beneficial, but cut back on U.S. over-commitment in trade and organization financing such as NATO. Mr. Trump’s approach to foreign affairs has been largely criticized for burning bridges with Mexico and Australia as well as the European Union and NAFTA. Although the Mr. Trump’s past meetings with Mr. Buhari and Mr. Zuma went smoothly, the outcomes are yet to be seen. There is also the possibility that with Trump’s focus on bilateral agreements that many less prosperous African nations will be marginalized and left behind.
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