The Secretary of state is preparing for the first official tour of Africa
On Tuesday, shortly before the start of his first official visit to Africa, U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson said that the US is determined to build “a solid base of American-African relations”, and accused China of “encouraging dependency” in policy towards Africa.
For the first time in a speech describing the administration’s policy towards Africa, Tillerson said that the US “tend” to reduce barriers to trade and investment relations with Africa’s largest trading partner which is China.
He added that the American approach to “promotion of good governance” contrasts sharply with the approach of China, which “encourages dependency, uses opaque contracts, predatory lending policies and corrupt deals that plunge the country into debt and undermine their sovereignty.”
Among the main topics Tillerson week tour to five countries of Africa â€“ the fight against terrorism, strengthening peace, improving management efficiency, the development of trade and increase investment.
“The security and economic prosperity of our country as never before, closely related to the security and prosperity of Africa”, â€“ said the head of American diplomacy, speaking at George Mason University near Washington, DC.
Tour Tillerson will be held two months after the scandal due to the fact that the President trump allegedly called Africa the “dirty holes” during a meeting on immigration with senators from both parties in the oval office.
The African Union, representing 55 countries on the continent, demanded that trump an apology. The group of African ambassadors to the UN also condemned the comment of trump, calling it “outrageous, racist and xenophobic”.
Since the inauguration of the trump it took more than a year, but the President has not yet appointed a chief diplomat for African Affairs. In embassies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Africa and five other African countries there continues to be no ambassadors.
As part of a tour from Tillerson is scheduled to meet with senior representatives of the authorities of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Some of these countries are involved in the fight against jihadists associated with “al-Qaeda” and “Islamic state”.
“To understand which direction the world is headed, you need to understand that the future of Africa,” said Tillerson, noting that this year’s ten fastest growing economies will be from Africa, and by 2030, the continent will be a quarter of the global workforce.
While Tillerson warned that without cooperation with the aim of developing infrastructure and stimulating economic growth, the terrorists will be “new ways to exploit the next generation”. According to him, the administration wants to work with African countries to resolve “engines of conflict” and to increase “institutional enforcement capacity” of these countries.
He added that the US and African leaders “need to work on finding a long-term diplomatic solutions” regional conflicts, which “cause people so much suffering.” He announced that the United States will provide an additional 533 million dollars to fight hunger and other problems associated with the conflicts in Ethiopia, the countries surrounding lake Chad, Somalia and South Sudan.
“Increased stability will help to strengthen trade and investment ties the U.S. with the African countries,” he said.
Tour Tillerson coincides with the visit of Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Ethiopia.