US announces $533m for Nigeria, others as Tillerson begins Africa tour

Frederick Owens
March 8, 2018

Speaking on "U.S. -Africa Relations: A New Framework", he said over the past century, as African nations emerged from their colonial past, there had been a dramatic increase in America's engagement with Africa.

United States budgetary priorities tell a different story.

United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has departed for Africa on a weeklong five-country official visit to Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Africa and into some political crises in Ethiopia and Kenya.

"Our country's security and economic prosperity are linked with Africa's like never before", the top USA diplomat said before an audience at George Mason University just outside of Washington. However, experts highlighted that the visit had no other motivation than to study ways for the United States to be bale to economically benefit even more from Africa, because the grounds of the U.S. foreign policy give priority to capital over any other aspect.

Tillerson said he has made many trips to Africa before, in his former career as an oil executive.

China is aggressively working to expand its regional influence, which is something of concern to US lawmakers.

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Tillerson said China used corruption and predatory loan practices to undermine African governments and mire them in debt.

Some experts say Washington and Beijing can both benefit from their work on the continent, even though China is focused on infrastructure and the United States is focused on education and health care. When opposition leader Raila Odinga held a mock inauguration, the government shut down TV stations and arrested opposition politicians, but the United States has largely voiced support for Kenyatta.

The trip comes as the Trump administration reverses course - again - on whether to let Americans import the body parts of African elephants shot for recreation.

In November, after the US Fish and Wildlife Service said it would lift the Obama-era ban, Trump intervened to keep it in place.

According to him, these additional funds will provide emergency food, nutrition assistance, and other aid. Another $110 million was earmarked for Ethiopia to help amid a drought, with the remaining $128 million helping Nigeria and the Lake Chad region nations.

About $184 million is for affected populations from South Sudan and more than $110 million for affected populations from Ethiopia.

Though he has yet to visit as diplomat, Tillerson is not a stranger to Africa, which he visited frequently in search of deals in his previous job as CEO of Exxon Mobil.

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