-Announces Extended Visit of Secretary Tillerson in March
By Ajong Mbapndah L
U.S President Donald Trump has expressed respect for the partnerships and values his country shares with Africa.
In a message to the African Union as it meets for its 30th Summit, Trump says the U.S respects the people Africa while expressing his firm commitment to strong and respectful relationships with African States as sovereign nations.
The statement issued on July 25, commends the leadership of current Chairperson Moussa Faki as it works to transform the AU into an effective institution to advance economic prosperity peace and positive outcomes for Africa.
“We are working together to increase free, fair, and reciprocal trade between the United States and African countries, and partnering to improve transportation security and safeguard legal immigration,” the statement reads.
Describing seminal Summit issues on advancing trade and development, resolving armed conflicts, and combatting corruption as critical for the future of Africa, President Trump said the African Union could count on the support and partnership of the U.S.
President Trump said he looked forward to building on relationships established during a lunch he had with African leaders on the sidelines of the last U.N General Assembly, and the Africa Ministerial Engagements in Washington.
The statement indicates that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Africa for an extended visit in March while the President looks forward to welcoming African leaders to Washington, DC.
Prior to his return from the World Economic Forum in Devos, Trump met with incoming Chairman of the Assembly, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda . President Trump faced a barrage of criticisms in the wake of remarks attributed to him describing Africa as a shithole. A number of U.S Ambassadors serving in Africa were forced to offer explanations on the statements of the President.
Describing the statement as a good start, Omar Arouna a former Ambassador of Benin to the USA and Managing Partner of the US-Africa Cyber Security Group thinks that this may be the closest to an apology Africa may get from a leader who is known to double down on his statements. Arouna, who is also a Member of the Washington, DC, Mayor’s Commission on Africa believes that the size, and importance of Africa, make it difficult for the Trump administration to ignore the continent.