10 Global Leaders Who Have Visited Africa While President Trump Has Been In Office
U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet visited Africa during his four years in the White House.
During a closed-door meeting with congressional leaders in January 2018, Trump referred to countries from the continent as “shithole countries”.
Trump denied that he used that word in the meeting, which was first reported by The Washington Post and other outlets before Democratic senator Dick Durbin confirmed that the president had said the remarks.
In February, Trump added Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Eritrea to a travel ban that already included Libya and Somalia.
While many global leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have paid multiple visits to Africa during that time, Trump continues to display a lack of interest in Africa.
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Here are 10 global leaders who have visited Africa while President Trump has been in office.
French President Emmanuel Macron personally visited Africa nine times since his election victory in 2017. He visited Burkina Faso, Ghana and Ivory Coast in November 2017, and Tunisia and Nigeria during 2018. In March 2019, Macron visited Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. His latest trip to Africa in December 2019 took him to Ivory Coast and Niger. These trips underscore the importance of Africa in his foreign policy, according to News24.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that Africa is an important region for China. In 2018, President Xi spent time in Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa, cementing ties with those countries as China secured their status as Africa’s largest trading partner. Chinese investments and contracts in sub-Saharan Africa amounted to $299 billion from 2005 to 2018, according to the China Investment Global Tracker.
In February 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Ethiopia to take advantage of a gathering of African heads of states and foreign ministers in Addis Ababa for an African Union summit, according to IOL. Trudeau, who chairs the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission, became the first Canadian prime minister to participate in a session of the African Union.
In 2018, former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May visited South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya as part of a trade mission aimed at boosting post-Brexit relations with top African economies, according to the BBC. New U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed the U.K.’s objective to become a major investor in Africa while playing host to African leaders and representatives at a U.K.-Africa summit in London on Jan. 20, IOL reported.
In February 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to South Africa and Angola as part of a state visit to southern Africa. Merkel’s visit followed that of the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the end of 2018, who reciprocated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to Germany earlier in 2018, according to Tralac.
At the end of 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Egypt to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, believed to be a close ally of the Russian leader. In 2018, Putin attended the BRICS Summit in South Africa alongside his fellow leaders from Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. Putin is expected to visit Sudan at the invitation of Sudanese President Al-Bashir with the aim of discussing ways of fostering relations and establishing a partnership between the countries, AllAfrica reported.
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Africa on four occasions during the last four years. In 2016, Netanyahu became the first Israeli leader to visit Africa in nearly three decades, with a trip to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda. A year later he attended a meeting in Liberia of heads of state from West Africa. Later in 2017, Netanyahu was present in Nairobi for the swearing-in ceremony of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. In February 2020, Netanyahu made his most recent trip to Africa when he arrived in Uganda to advance Israel’s African diplomacy.
Former Brazilian President Michel Temer visited South Africa in 2018 as part of his BRICS commitments and his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro is expected to do the same. Bolsonaro is also planning a trip to Africa in 2020 that could include visits to multiple African countries, according to AfricanIntelligence.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has traveled to Africa on many occasions for official state and working visits. In 2017, he visited Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar in January, returning to the continent to visit Sudan and Chad in December of that year. In 2018, Erdogan made trips to Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, South Africa, and Zambia. He visited Tunisia in 2019 and in January 2020, Erdogan added more African destinations to his travel list when he made stops in Algeria, Senegal, and The Gambia, according to AfricaNews.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a trip to Africa in 2016 before Trump was elected U.S. president, visiting Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. He also visited Mauritius and Seychelles in 2015. Since Trump has been in office, Modi has continued his focus on Africa. In 2018, the Indian prime minister’s trip to Africa included stops in South Africa, Rwanda, and Uganda, according to ORF.