After four straight days of vote counting, Joseph R. Biden Jnr emerged winner of the historic United States 2020 presidential election according to US media reports, securing more than the required 270 votes from the Electoral College needed for his presidency as well as over 74 million votes, against the 72 million votes for the incumbent President, Donald Trump.
In the past four years, most oil producing counties under the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, have endured countless seasons of price fall in the oil market and dwindled sales to the western world, which hitherto was the major buyer.
The Nigerian economy, where crude oil accounts for over 90 percent of foreign currency revenue, will be affected by the energy policy of the incoming President of the United States, who has moved from being a major buyer to producer of crude oil.
According to The Africa Report, under the Trump administration, tens of billions of dollars for food, water, education, health, security and other development needs were on the line. The Trump administration was notorious for using aid cuts as a foreign policy cudgel, but with the Biden presidency, Nigeria and Africa, in general, need not fret again about USAID’s shrinking budgets annually.
From a commercial perspective, Trump’s policies lay the groundwork for unlocking greater US private sector investment in the continent, making other countries who depend on her patronage to be stranded without getting a buyer for their products, thereby reducing the value in the global market.
A return to multilateral economic system under a Biden-led government is expected to translate to stronger US-backing for the African Continental Free Trade Area, rather than the Trump administration’s approach of pursuing bilateral deals.
Donald Trump had directed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin to put an end to the oil supply glut that crashed oil prices to negative values. The oil price across the globe fell to the lowest, and at a point, crude oil per barrel was $0 (zero dollars).
While Nigeria was exporting 234,000 barrels per day to the US, the United States started drilling and producing no fewer than 10.6million barrels per day, and giving price and export conditions for African countries and Middle East that may wish to export the residual quantity they may not require, except for economic relationship sustenance or to cover areas where there may be a decline or insufficient supply.
This August, the United States announced that it had slashed her imports of Nigerian crude oil to 9.37 million barrels in the first five months of this year, 11.67 million barrels lower than what it bought in the same period of 2019.
“The highest monthly volume of Nigerian crude purchased by the North American country so far this year was 2.12 million barrels, compared to 11.78 million barrels in 2019. Her purchases plunged by 63.03 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 to 5.53 million barrels, compared to the last quarter of 2019 when it bought 15.07 million barrels from Nigeria.
While the US oil receipts from Nigeria continues to shrink, Nigerian immigrants in America are hopeful a Biden presidency would improve their chances of working and living there; while those intending to emigrate are eager to see a review of Trump’s travel ban that may improve the chances of bettering their lives.
Biden presidency is more likely to be engaged in multilateralism, and support African continental initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, the African Union Development Agency, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The emotions and passion with which Nigerians follow the US elections may have conveyed an impression that Biden is contesting as Nigeria’s president, but it should be noted that his administration would have many urgent matters in its in-tray. Relations with specific foreign governments might not be at the top of that stack, but the departure of President Trump will usher in a more stable US foreign policy and a more constructive engagement with allies.
It is also believed that Biden’s got a lot of pruning and cleaning to do when he assumes office. As most political commentators have already asserted, Biden’s winning the election is the first step to recovery of America’s economy and redemption of her name. The president-elect still has a lot of cleaning to do when he finally assumes office in January 2021.