Tillerson departs for Africa for talks with Buhari, others

Tillerson departs for Africa for talks with Buhari, others

The United States of America Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

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.

"Five of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa, and consumer spending there is projected to exceed $2 trillion by the year 2025", he reportedly said ahead of the ministerial talks with foreign ministers and representatives of 37 African countries at the State Department in Washington.

President Donald Trump's description of "shithole countries" in January was greeted with a mix of horror and outrage in Africa, where many don't know what to think about the USA president - or what he thinks of them.

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Tillerson also lauded the progress Africa, as a continent, has made with democracy.

He also said the United States supported the creation of a development finance institution for Africa. "When do we get to see the outlines of what the Trump Africa policy is?"

"Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most countries", said Tillerson.

The trip, his first official visit to Africa, as Secretary of State, will begin with a trip to Ethiopia and later to Djibouti from where he will go to Kenya and Chad before coming to Nigeria.

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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.

In Ethiopia, for example, total USA investment of around $567 million, is dwarfed by Chinese investments, which are more than $15 billion, according to the State Department.

He said China encouraged dependency, utilised corrupt deals and endangered its natural resources. 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 USA foreign policy give priority to capital over any other aspect.

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. The U.S. planned to direct $128 million to help with Nigeria and the Lake Chad region nations.

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