ADDIS ABEBA – Leaders across Africa have been congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, following their victory.
“My congratulations to US President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on your historic Election 2020,” Prime Minister Abiy said in a tweet.
“Ethiopia looks forward to working closely with you,” he added.
Nigerian president urged Biden to “deploy his vast experience in tackling the negative consequences of nationalist politics on world affairs”.
Uganda’s president hoped a trade deal that gives African nations 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.
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.
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”.
“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”.
Uganda: ‘Trade plea’
Uganda’s leader, Yoweri Museveni, sent congratulations to Biden and greetings from the Ugandan people, reminding him of the countries’ close links.
“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 multilateral ism 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 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 Trump who has sided with Egypt in the row over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam build by Addis Abeba on the River Nile, said he hoped good relations between the countries would continue with 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.”
Niger, Senegal, Somalia and South Africa:
Other leaders sent out short congratulatory messages not long after the result came through on Saturday.
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 Biden.
Featured Image: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are projected to win Pennsylvania, sealing their bid for the White House [Photo Reuters]