US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives Nigeria

Nigeria’s 2019 elections our major priority says US

In an administration that has often struggled for coherence in its foreign policy, and which lives by the maxim of America First, it would be unrealistic to expect Secretary Tillerson to deliver a transformation in the relationship between USA and Africa.

On Monday, acting assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Donald Yamamoto confirmed the meeting between President Uhuru and Tillerson, although he did not disclose what will be discussed.

He said: "Now we had over two dozens African countries with democratically elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup d'etats and other illegal methods".

Tillerson, in a speech laying out the administration's Africa policy, said the continent's rapid economic growth and fast-rising populations mean its future is increasingly linked to America's.

With Trump showing little understanding of the continent - the president has made very few remarks that show a proper understanding of the continent, but Tillerson's visit would give us a clearer insight into the possibility of any beneficial partnership to evolve between the continent and the United States.

The State Department said that about $184 million would go to help those affected by conflict in South Sudan and $110 million for those in Somalia.

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"It may be a listening tour for him, but it's also a watching tour" for everyone else, said Witney Schneidman, a former Africa official at the State Department now at the Brookings Institution. But seeing as one of the objectives of the visit is to "spur mutually beneficial trade and investment", the Secretary of State can help us make sense of the USA trade policies towards Africa.

Tillerson is the highest-ranking USA official to travel to Africa since President Donald Trump took office.

Terror attacks in Africa have claimed more than 1,500 lives in each of the past three years, Mr Tillerson said.

In Djibouti, China's development of its first overseas military base just a few miles away has been cause for concern for the USA, illustrating the military side of a broader competition between the US and China playing out across the continent.

The US would do more to reduce trade and investment barriers for African partners, he said.

It noted further that "humanitarian aid is truly life-saving", adding also that "this assistance will not solve these crises, most of which are largely manmade", and calling on all parties to allow aid workers safe and unhindered access to help communities in need.

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