Ongolo Proud African

Sub-Saharan Africa missed in Biden National Security Council picks

16 January 2021

As the world awaits the inauguration of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday 20th January 2021, the Biden-Harris transition team has been finalising nominations for key roles including the National Security Council who will have the president's ear on key geo-political matters.

The National Security Council appointments are a reflection of the strategic priorities of an administration. It is therefore not a surprise to see Senior Directors appointed to cover traditional allies and foes of the United States: China, Russia and Central Asia, Europe, East Asia and Oceania, South Asia and Western Hemisphere which includes Canada, Central and South America.

I suspect UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be calling the White House to remind them that the UK is free of Europe and reclaim their rightful place in the upper decks of geo-political power.

A Coordinator (which one can presume is more junior than a Senior Director) has been appointed for the Middle East and North Africa which is a surprise given the never-ending tension in the region and the achievements of the Trump administration (begrudgingly giving credit where due) with the Abraham Accords. It will also be interesting to see how Biden will handle Iran given the growing Sunni-Shia divide.

The Indo-Pacific region has also been assigned a coordinator. It is unclear which countries this includes given the overlap with East Asia, Oceania and South Asia. One can only assume it includes the smaller islands such as Papua New Guinea which has been cosying up to China.

The most glaring omission from the nominations is Sub-Saharan Africa. No Senior Director or Coordinator has been appointed t0 cover 46/54 countries in Africa. We can only hope that the team is still recruiting as applications are still welcome and someone will appointed soon. I would hate to think that Africa doesn't matter to the Biden-Harris administration.

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