Tillerson: US commitment to Africa "quite clear"

Lucy Bush
March 9, 2018

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed global trade and Chinese investment on the second of his six day tour in Africa.

African countries should weigh Chinese loans carefully, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday.

He says the USA must be "very clear-eyed" and realistic.

"We're a long way from negotiations", Tillerson said in Ethiopia Thursday.

"To understand where the world is going, one must understand Africa is the future", Tillerson said, noting Africa will be home this year to six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies and will have one-fourth of the world's workforce by 2030. He said there was no monopoly on investment in African countries. He explained that the US and North Korea need to start with "talks about talks", according to the Associated Press.

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Earlier in the week, he criticised China's approach to Africa which he said encouraged dependency through "opaque contracts" and "predatory loan practices".

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the US on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States", the South Korean government said in a statement following a landmark meeting between South Korean diplomats and North Korean leadership.

"The incident is behind us, the visit by the secretary of state today is proof of the importance of relations between the different parties", he said.

At the press conference, Tillerson said he had "a very good exchange" with Ethiopian officials about counterterrorism efforts.

Tillerson arrived in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation, on March 7 and visited the African Union headquarters the following day.

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Tillerson will then visit Kenya, a USA ally in the fight against al Shabaab Islamist militants in Somalia, before traveling to Chad and Nigeria, which are also battling to contain Islamist insurgents.

President Trump's disparaging insults about Africans and African countries will likely hang over the trip, and with the chief conversation being on anti-terrorism, important trade and development discussions may well be left on the wayside.

The Africa trip - which also includes Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria - is Tillerson's first since he became the United States' top diplomat, and he announced more than half a billion dollars in aid just before embarking on the visit.

The aid, which includes tens of thousands of tons of food, is divided among Ethiopia, parts of which are ravaged by a severe drought, Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan and the countries of the Lake Chad basin, where millions are teetering on the edge of starvation.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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