Three things Uhuru will discuss with Trump's top diplomat on Friday

Three things Uhuru will discuss with Trump's top diplomat on Friday

Three things Uhuru will discuss with Trump's top diplomat on Friday

This U.S. diplomatic excursion follows the global firestorm sparked in January by President Trump's reported "shithole" remarks in reference to the African continent and its people. "And of course, human rights is also another important issue". The focus is on security, not economic development, trade and investment, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

The department explained that, obviously, a lot of those African countries were still fragile democracies and the US was trying to strengthen them. "And the Chinese have understood it and have been more proactive and aggressive in a way that it's benefiting them", Brahima Coulibaly, the director of the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings Institution, said, commenting on the trip.

"And also we're looking hopefully at South Africa with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa from Jacob Zuma and seeing how that's going to transition", the State Department said.

Tillerson, who departs later Tuesday for Ethiopia, also sought to contrast the US approach to Africa to that of China, which he says "encourages dependency" that undermines sovereignty on the continent.

He will visit five of Africa's fifty-four countries-Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria. It declared a state of emergency after the prime minister resigned last month following two years of protests over state repression.

The other beneficiaries include Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region, affected by ongoing conflicts or prolonged drought.

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In addition, the U.S.is also very concerned about the recent ethnic fighting between Oromo and Somali ethnic groups that has displaced almost one million people, and the subject is certain to come up during the meeting.

Of the newly-announced funds, almost $184 million is for affected populations in South Sudan and more than $110 million is for millions vulnerable in Ethiopia. "With several US allies struggling to rein in Islamist extremist groups, and China increasingly making inroads on the continent, the USA security relationship will be the focus..." In return, China has gained increased access to the continent's vast mineral and petroleum resources.

Tillerson made the announcement at a speech in Virginia before departing for a week-long trip to several African countries. But he arrives with no bold initiatives that could convince leaders the administration is serious about Africa.

So far, the defining feature of this administration's Africa policy is its ramping-up counterterrorism engagement. In a thoughtful article, John Stremlau, an American visiting professor at Johannesburg's prestigious University of the Witswatersrand, suggests that, for the time being, growing the United States relationship with sub-Saharan Africa may rest more with the legislative branch than with the executive branch and the secretary of state.

"We're not ignoring the opposition", the acting head of the Africa Bureau added.

"Geographically it is restricted to the so-called 'arc of instability.' Evidently counterterrorism is America's main Africa concern". Tillerson said China's investment in Africa "encouraged dependency".

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"Instead, Tillerson has prioritized repressive governments and ones under states of emergency".

Making Tillerson's job harder, he's showing up on the continent with few concrete goals or new actions to announce. Trump has not named an assistant secretary for Africa to oversee the continent, nor an ambassador to key countries like South Africa.

The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Africa, providing roughly $3 billion in aid since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, the state department said.

"The continent has a lot of potential and a lot to offer and that's being recognized by Africa's other partners who are quite aggressive in fostering their relationships", Coulibaly said.

Chad, Djibouti and Ethiopia are rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018.

The U.S. noted recent United Nations reports about some of the extremist operations in the G-5 countries and the Trans-Sahel.

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