Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Tillerson slams China ahead of his African tour

Tillerson slams China ahead of his African tour

Hours before departing on a week-long visit to Africa, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the USA will commit $533 Million in humanitarian aid to address food insecurity, starvation and health concerns on the continent.

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.

Audio will be available later today.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to hold discussions with President Kenyatta once he visits the country later this week.

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Tillerson, who departs later Tuesday for Ethiopia, also sought to contrast the USA approach to Africa to that of China, which he says "encourages dependency" that undermines sovereignty on the continent.

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".

However, he blasted the predatory loan practices, opaque contracts, and mounting debt China brings to Africa. About $184 million was destined South Sudan and $110 million for Somalia amid conflicts in both countries. "The substance of what he conveys may be more diverse, but given the signals coming out of the White House and administration to date, I imagine that security is top of the order, along with cementing relationships with partners that the USA considers important security players".

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (4th-L) speaks during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (3rd-R) in Beijing, Feb. 8, 2018.

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Speaking on "U.S. -Africa Relations: A New Framework", Tillerson said over the past century, as African nations emerged from their colonial past, there had been a dramatic increase in America's engagement with Africa.

Kenya has also served as "an incubator for how we expanded Pepfar over the years", Mr Tillerson said.

Trump hasn't announced a signature initiative to help the continent, such as the PEPFAR program for HIV/AIDS that George W. Bush started, and many of his sweeping budget cuts affect overseas programs that disproportionately help Africa.

"Greater stability will attract United States' trade and investment with African nations", he said.

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