Tillerson Expresses US Interest in Boosting Ties, Trade with Africa

10 March, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • China to US Don’t blame us for Africa’s accumulated debt

'We have not yet won that battle in Somalia and we must stay at it, ' Tillerson said.

However looming over the meeting was Trump's alleged description of Africa as a "shithole" in January, which forced the president to pen a letter reaffirming his commitment to the continent and dispatch his top diplomat to try to heal rifts.

He visited the African Union headquarters on Thursday. The Secretary also stressed the role of the private sector and the desire to see increasing numbers of US firms invest in and export to Ethiopia, who bring with them a focus on transparency and training.

He said US appreciated AU's very strong statements on South Sudan at the recent AU summit, adding USA truly calls on all parties to abide by the cessation of hostilities and be open to compromise for the good of the South Sudanese people.

Tillerson's department, meanwhile, submitted a 2019 budget request that would cut United States health programs in Africa by a fifth and diplomatic programs by more than a third. "I think it is important to listen to what the priorities of the continent are".

Also looming over the journey is the rise of China as an economic and diplomatic power to rival the West.

The secretary of state said the USA was not attempting to keep Chinese investment out of Africa, but said "it is important for African countries to carefully consider the terms of those investments".

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The two also discussed a few country-specific issues, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the United States continues to urge the AU to press all parties - including the DRC government and the political opposition - to work towards December 2018 DRC elections.

For the record, Tillerson is to visit from the 6th to the 13th of March seven African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Nigeria and Chad. Washington denied receiving an invitation to talks.

The US official said he was glad that the judicial reforms in place meant contracts were respected and there was a clear path on investment.

As the largest global donor on global health, the USA has supported many programs that help people get healthcare in some of Africa's poorest countries.

Faki minced no words, all but rejecting Tillerson's argument. We have multifaceted, multifarious relations with other parts of the world.

"The US is glad to see Kenya building investor confidence because that will help in the growth of the economy", the US Secretary of State said.

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