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U.S. secretary of state on first official trip to Sub-Saharan Africa

08 March 2018

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Africa and into some political crises in Ethiopia and Kenya.

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.

The relationship between the United States and Africa under President Trumps administration did not necessarily begin on the best note with the president's tough stance on immigration which is affecting many Africans in the diaspora and on the continent; condescending comments made by the president, which he publicly denied afterwards; and the recent disagreement with some East African leaders on the importation of second-hand clothes.

More than $110 million is for affected populations in Somalia and over $128 million for millions in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.

"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. "When do we get to see the outlines of what the Trump Africa policy is?"

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Tillerson is also scheduled to meet with top officials in the allied nations of Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria, some of which are helping in the battle against rebellions from jihadists linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State.

China is aggressively working to expand its regional influence, which is something of concern to US lawmakers.

THE United States (US) government has announced $533 million (R 6,27 billion) in humanitarian assistance for millions of people facing food insecurity and malnutrition because of conflict or prolonged drought in Africa. About $184 million was destined South Sudan and $110 million for Somalia amid conflicts in both countries.

Tillerson said: "today I'm announcing $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance to fight starvation and food insecurity and address other needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Lake Chad Basin".

His announcement of more humanitarian assistance for several countries threatened by starvation will be welcomed, but Tillerson works for a president who has repeatedly spoken of reducing America's burdens overseas.

U.S. secretary of state on first official trip to Sub-Saharan Africa