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Akinterinwa, ex-NIIA DG, foresees favourable policy toward Nigeria, Africa by Biden

...Says, US may wrest continent from China

Bola Akinterinwa, a former director-general, Nigerian Institute of international Affairs (NIIA), has said that the foreign policy of the in-coming Joe Biden administration in the United State towards Nigeria and Africa could be completely different from the one witnessed under the tenure of the outgoing President Donald Trump.

Biden, 78, defeated Trump in November 2020 by 306 to 232 electoral votes to become the 46th President of the US.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay on the expectation of Nigerians and Africans from the Biden administration, Akinterinwa said though the US foreign policy would always remain the same under any administration, with only the style and technique of achieving the objective varying, he however, expects an attitudinal turnaround in US relations with Nigeria and Africa under Biden.

The professor said the Democrat has a history of cordial relationship with Africa over the years and he does not expect less from the Biden administration.

“I think that we should only be talking about change of government and continuity in American foreign policy but with a different style of quality management.

“I see continuity in US foreign policy, whether you have a Republican-led government or a Democrat-led government or any other government; US foreign policy is constant in its objectives. It is only its style, the objectives, the technique of achieving the objective that would vary,” Akinterinwa said.

The veteran international scholar further said he expects the US to increase its investment, aid and trade with Africa under the Biden administration and also tries to dislodge China which had grown to become the biggest investor and aid donor to the continent.

According to him, “For us as Nigeria and Nigerians; we should expect Joe Biden to return to international affairs, freely negotiated, freely signed, freely rectified and more importantly freely implemented by the US Department since Donald Trump came to power.

“Since they did that under Trump, Joe Biden should be expected to revisit what led to misunderstanding between the US and its allies.

“That is basically what we should expect; one major area of interest; we should expect is that there is no way Biden would not want to weaken Chinese influence in Nigeria. So, the Chinese for instance, have economic success investing in Africa; Chinese are giving loans to African countries at the rate that the US has not been able to give.”

He noted that, “The relationship between African countries and China is such that the Chinese are increasingly becoming the darling of many Africa countries. This is what these countries don’t like. Under Joe Biden, it would remain a problem and Biden would want to endear the United States to Africa to do more or better than what the Chinese have been doing.”

“So, in terms of foreign policy, the Chinese would remain an interest, and in this case, if it would bring Nigeria and US closer or not time would tell,” he said.

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