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Blinken Tours Africa to Promote Trade Relations with U.S

Secretary Antony J. Blinken is making a trip to Africa to visit Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola from January 21-26, 2024.

During his trip, he’ll talk about how the United States is working closely with Africa in areas like climate, food, and health security.

He will also discuss the U.S.’s efforts to strengthen economic ties, invest in African infrastructure, create jobs, and help Africa compete globally.

Secretary Blinken will also stress on the future economic partnerships between the U.S. and Africa.

The U.S. is investing in African infrastructure to enhance trade, create jobs, and support global competitiveness.

Additionally, the Secretary will strengthen security ties based on shared values: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

He reaffirmed commitment to coastal West African partners, which includes the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability.

The U.S. partners with ECOWAS to address regional challenges and supports African leadership in conflict resolution.

Blinken’s Africa trip comes amid concerns about the U.S.’s relationship with the continent, especially after coups in Niger and Gabon last year.

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Positive U.S. Engagement in Africa

When asked about countering China’s influence, Molly Phee, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said it’s more of a media focus.

“If China didn’t exist, we would be fully engaged in Africa. Africa is important for its own sake, and it’s important for American interests,” Molly said.

Phee also highlighted major U.S. infrastructure projects with Angola and Cape Verde, aiming to shift the narrative from negative news to positive engagements.

“I think it can highlight the great capacity of African people, particularly the youth.

“It can show really forward-looking types of engagements, for example, our partnership with Angola in outer space,” she said.

The trip will coincide with the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, and Blinken hopes to attend a match in Ivory Coast.

Moreover, Phee addressed security issues and mentioned that Blinken will discuss the situation in the Sahel and coastal West Africa during his visit to Ivory Coast.

She acknowledged Nigeria’s internal security challenges and praised Angola’s role in addressing tensions in the eastern Congo.