Donald Trump’s Prosper Africa Program is Being Launched in Togo

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Governor Phil Bryant and President Faure Gnassingbe

President Donald Trump’s tendency to praise dictators is well documented, so it should be little surprise that Togo, one of the oldest dictatorial regimes in Africa, is among the first countries where the Trump administration will be launching its new “Prosper Africa” program. This program is designed to promote trade and investment in Africa. The program was introduced by Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton. Bolton explained:

Under our new Africa strategy, we will target U.S. funding toward key countries and particular strategic objectives. All U.S. aid on the continent will advance U.S. interests, and help African nations move toward self-reliance.

Togo is a natural choice for the Trump administration to initiate this program. As was noted before, Trump seems to admire authoritarian leaders and few leaders in Africa have been as authoritarian as Faure Gnassingbe has been. In fact, the regime in Togo is at present the oldest military dictatorship in Africa. The regime has been in power since 1967 when Faure’s father Eydema Gnassingbe first seized power through a military coup.

In the past the government of Togo has also demonstrated a willingness to serve the interest of the Trump administration. In 2017, Togo was the only African nation to vote in support of the Trump administration’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Of course, it is in the interest of the Togolese government to align itself with the Trump administration. A series of protests which began in August 2017 have significantly weakened Faure’s grip on power in Togo. A recent example of this is how international pressure forced Togo into holding the first local elections that have been held in the country in more than 30 years.

The relationship between Togo and the Trump administration is very clear. As Bolton noted, Prosper Africa is meant to secure America’s interests in Africa. Faure Gnassingbe will be happy to fill that role because he is in desperate need of foriegn support to keep his grasp on power in Togo. This is also why Faure reached out to an American firm to help improve his image internationally. Prosper Africa is a program which benefits Faure and the Trump administration, but accomplishes very little in terms of benefitting the people of Togo themselves.

Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook and Twitter.

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) is a Guyanese born Pan-Africanist, author, and law student.

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