Africa has many natural resources that present opportunity for the country, However, according to Moran, Abramson, and Moran (2014), “Africa has been classified as the Third World in economic terms–it contributes only 1 percent of the global economic output” (p. 506). Furthermore, “this poor continent is often viewed as a land of tragedy or promise because of its rich natural and human resources that have not been fully developed” (Moran, et. al., p. 506).
This economic opportunity that exists in Africa was recently discussed by President Donald Trump. On September 20, 2017, President Trump spoke at a luncheon during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. According to an article from CNBC, the luncheon that President Trump hosted included attendees that are leaders of the nations of the large and diverse African continent (Wilkie, 2017). At this luncheon, President Trump made the statement “I’ve had so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money” (Wilkie, 2017). While it seemed as though President Trump intended for this statement to the African leaders to be delivered as a compliment, it was not perceived as such.
President Trump’s statement to the leaders of the diverse African continent poses a few important points. First, it points to the fact that there is in fact a great deal of opportunity within Africa that is not being capitalized on, but there is a possibility of this happening. However, by friends of Trump’s expanding their business ventures to Africa to “try to get rich” and “spending a lot of money,” this may not be the way that Africa can improve its economic status. Moran, Abramson, and Moran (2104) explain that in order for the continent Africa to actualize the prospects of improving their economy, “Africans will have to learn how to: (1) practice synergy among themselves; (2) control their populations; (3) advance their literacy, education, and productivity; (4) build infrastructure, especially roads and transportation; (5_ promote conservation and ecotourism; and (6) connect with the information age and its technologies” (p. 506). By Americans heading to Africa in its current economic state, it is not allowing Africa to improve because it means that Africa is skipping these steps that are explained by Moran, Abramson, and Moran, which are necessary in order for the African continent to actually improve economically in the long run.
The statement made by President Trump at the luncheon also proves the point of how important it is for a person speaking to an audience from a leadership position to know their audience and speak with consideration to the cultural differences. With the statements that President Trump made at the luncheon, it is clear that he was not considering how his statements would be perceived by the African leaders that were his audience. When speaking from a leadership position, it is crucial that the leader adapts their statements and their overall speech to the culture that they are speaking to.
Overall, there is opportunity for Africa to improve its economic conditions. However, by wealthy American business people moving their money-making ventures to Africa before allowing the countries of the African continent to improve themselves with the steps outlined by Moran, Abramson, and Moran (2104), there will not be any real and sustainable long-term improvement to the African economy.
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing Cultural Differences (9th ed.). Oxford: Routledge.
Wilkie, C. (2017, September 21). Trump congratulates African leaders for making his friends rich. Retrieved November 27, 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/trump-congratulates-african-leaders-for-making-his-friends-rich.html