US Secretary of State Tillerson to jet in on Friday
US Secretary of State Tillerson to jet in on Friday
State Rex Tillerson with President Donald Trump. /REUTERS
08 March, 2018, 02:11
State Department officials said Tillerson wanted to hear from leaders in Africa in what ways they're most eager to collaborate with the United States.
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.
The United States has donated almost $3bn humanitarian assistance to African countries facing one form of crisis or the other since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017 and has also encouraged additional contributions to meet growing needs.
After more than a year in office, Trump has not nominated a chief US diplomat for Africa, and embassies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Africa and in five other African countries remain without ambassadors.
Tillerson also lauded the progress Africa, as a continent, has made with democracy.
The benefactors are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region. "When do we get to see the outlines of what the Trump Africa policy is?"
"Chinese investment has the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few if any jobs in most countries", Tillerson said.
Tillerson gave his speech at George Mason University in Virginia, shortly before setting off on his weeklong visit to Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria.
China is aggressively working to expand its regional influence, which is something of concern to US lawmakers.
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.
"Although Africa needs sustained investment and engagement from members of the worldwide community, China has been largely a negative actor in the region for some time", Smith said.
Last month, three United Nations aid agencies and the National Bureau of Statistics described the food situation as alarming with over seven million people in South Sudan estimated to be food insecure.
"The American people, as we always have been, are there to partner with African countries to ensure their most vulnerable populations receive life-saving assistance".
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