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US election: Africans leaders congratulate Joe Biden

Newspaper headlines in Kenya - 8 November 2020

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Leaders across Africa have been congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, following their victory.

“I urge Mr Biden to deploy his vast experience in tackling the negative consequences of nationalist politics on world affairs,” Nigeria’s leader said.

Uganda’s president hoped a trade deal that gives African nation duty free access to US markets would be renewed.

Ms Harris was described as a “trailblazer” by Kenya’s president.

She has made history as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president-elect.

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Many of the leaders on the continent have pointed to Mr Biden’s track record and said how much they looked forward to working with him.

The 77-year-old was first elected to the US senate in 1972 and served as Barack Obama’s vice-president for eight years.

Nigeria: ‘Respect will of the people’

Muhammadu Buhari, president of Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy, said Mr Biden’s victory came at a” time of uncertainty and fear in world affairs”.

“His election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government because it offers the people the opportunity to change their government by peaceful means,” Mr Buhari said.

US President Donald Trump has yet to concede and has not spoken publicly since his defeat.

“Respect for the will of the people is the very reason why democracy remains the best form of government, despite its limitations from one polity to another, and from one society to another,” Nigeria’s leader said.

He added that Nigeria hoped for greater co-operation with the US “especially at economic, diplomatic and political levels, including the war against terrorism”.

He said nationalist politics had created “divisions and uncertainties” in the world – and urged Mr Biden to instead “introduce greater engagement with Africa on the basis of reciprocal respect and shared interests”.

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo added his congratulations and spoke of Africa’s pride in seeing the election of Ms Harris, who has an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.

media captionWho is Kamala Harris, vice-president-elect?

“We in Africa are proud of her success. The first African-American President of the US, Barrack Obama, has Kenyan DNA in him and I am reasonably sure that the first African-American female vice-president-elect of the US will have some Nigerian DNA in her as most of those taken to the Caribbean from Africa went from Nigeria of today,” the ex-president said.

Kenya: ‘A friend to our country’

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mr Biden’s “emphatic win” was “a demonstration of Americans’ confidence in the leadership credentials of the former vice-president”.

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image captionJoe Biden visited Kenya when he was vice-president, here meeting those affected by the 1998 bombing of the US embassy

“President-elect Joe Biden is a friend of our country who has visited us in the past and helped in strengthening the strong ties that exist between us and the United States of America,” President Kenyatta said in statement.

“His win therefore presents an even bigger and better platform for our two countries to collaborate more closely for the prosperity of the people of our two nations.”

He said Ms Harris would be a role model who would “help inspire and embolden millions of young girls across the world to chase and achieve their dreams of greatness and success”.

Mr Kenyatta also thanked Mr Trump and his administration and said that he “wished him well as he exits the high office of the president of the United States of America”.

Uganda: ‘Trade plea’

Uganda’s leader, Yoweri Museveni, sent congratulations to Mr Biden and greetings from the Ugandan people, reminding him of the countries’ close links.

media captionSome contraception clinics in Africa have closed because of President Trump’s funding cuts

“The USA, with its black population of 47.4m people, as well as a large Christian population linked with us by faith, could easily be a natural ally of Uganda and Africa,” President Museveni tweeted.

“Previous American presidents have already positively used these linkages by putting in place the African Growth And Opportunity Act [Agoa]… We salute this policy & hope that President Biden maintains it.”

Agoa is the flagship US trade legislation designed to boost trade and investment in qualifying African countries by granting duty-free access to 6,500 exported products – it was signed into law by US Bill Clinton in 2000 and boosted and extended by his successors George W Bush and Mr Obama.

It is due to expire in 2025 and if it is not renewed it could have an severe impact on smaller and poorer nations.

Namibia: ‘Opposed apartheid’

The president of Namibia said the country, which gained its independence in 1990 from white-minority ruled South Africa after a 25-year war, appreciated Mr Biden’s support at that time.

“During our struggle for freedom, we came to know him as a senator who opposed apartheid in South Africa and the region,” President Hage Geingob tweeted.

“I look forward to working with @JoeBiden for stronger bilateral relations and multilateralism for a fairer world.”

Liberia: ‘We all face a global health crisis’

George Weah, president of Liberia, one of three countries severely affected by West Africa’s 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, pointed to the coronavirus pandemic in his congratulatory message to Mr Biden.

“He assumes the leadership of the United States at a very challenging time for the country and the world as we all face a global health crisis. I urge all Americans to forge together in peace and unity,” he tweeted.

“As the traditional ally of the United States, Liberia stands ready to further enhance and rekindle our long, historic and unique bilateral relations. Congratulations!”

Egypt: ‘Joint action’

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, a close ally of Mr Trump who has backed Egypt in the row over a controversial built by Ethiopia on the River Nile, said he hoped good relations between the countries would continue with Mr Biden.

“The president stressed the aspiration for co-operation and joint action to strengthen the strategic bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States, in the interest of the two friendly countries and peoples,” the Reuters news agency quoted his spokesman as saying.

Zimbabwe: ‘Increased co-operation’

The president of Zimbabwe, whose country has a tense relationship with the US over its human rights record, did not stint on his congratulations.

Some Zimbabwean individuals and businesses have been subject to sanctions going back 20 years.

“Zimbabwe wishes you every successes in leading the American people. I look forward to working with you to increase co-operation between our two nations,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted.

Ghana: ‘Unity for all Americans’

Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo described Mr Biden’s victory as “decisive” and congratulated Ms Harris on making history.

“It is my sincere hope that President-Elect Biden’s tenure of office will be marked by the delivery of unity, security, progress and prosperity to all Americans,” he tweeted.

“I am hopeful that over the course of his presidency, relations between Ghana and the United States of America will continue to grow from strength to strength, relations which have, over the years, been based on a shared agenda of freedom, development, progress and prosperity.”

Ethiopia, Niger, Senegal, Somalia and South Africa:

Other leaders sent out short congratulatory messages not long after the result came through on Saturday.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Niger’s President Issoufou Mahamadou, Senegalese President Macky Sall, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Somalia’s leader Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, were among those who took to Twitter saying they looked forward to working with Mr Biden:

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