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U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson Announces $533M In Aid For African Nations Suffering Conflict, Drought, Praises PEPFAR In Speech Ahead Of African Tour

Associated Press: Tillerson to Africa on a damage-control mission for Trump
“As far as Africa’s concerned, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Trump administration have some explaining to do. President Donald Trump’s description of ‘shithole countries’ in January was greeted with a mix of horror and outrage in Africa, where many don’t know what to think about the U.S. president — or what he thinks of them. He’s rarely spoken about priorities for the continent, which garnered a mere seven paragraphs on the very last pages of Trump’s National Security Strategy. It falls to Tillerson to mend the damage as he travels to the continent on Tuesday, becoming the most senior U.S. official to set foot there since Trump took office more than a year ago…” (Lederman, 3/7).

Bloomberg Politics: Tillerson Heads to Africa With Security, Not Aid, as U.S. Focus
“…Tillerson heads to the continent with the Trump administration advocating cuts of more than a third in aid to African countries and programs, along with deep reductions to global health initiatives. With several U.S. allies struggling to rein in Islamist extremist groups, and China increasingly making inroads on the continent, the U.S. security relationship will be the focus…” (Wadhams, 3/7).

Los Angeles Times: Tillerson heads to Africa to discuss counter-terrorism, development, China, and debt
“…Before leaving Washington, Tillerson announced a new allotment of $533 million in aid for Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and parts of the Lake Chad region, areas suffering from armed conflict and drought. He received support from the commander of U.S. military forces in Africa, who advocated Tuesday for a stronger diplomatic arm on the continent…” (Wilkinson, 3/6).

New York Times: Seeking to Heal a Rift, Tillerson Pledges New Aid to Africa
“…In a speech before leaving Washington, Mr. Tillerson trumpeted American efforts to improve access to electricity across Africa and provide critical drugs for millions of people to treat HIV/AIDS. He did not mention, however, that the Trump administration has proposed slashing funding for both programs, along with other aid efforts seen as vital in Africa. Mr. Tillerson is scheduled to visit Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria…” (Harris et al., 3/6).

Quartz: China is pushing Africa into debt, says America’s top diplomat
“…After repeatedly demonstrating indifference and skepticism about Africa’s place in U.S. foreign policy, Tillerson’s speech ahead of his five-nation tour was the first to offer some sense of the Trump administration’s Africa policy. During his meetings in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria, Tillerson said he will engage leaders on issues ranging from counter-terrorism and governance to trade and investment. He also lauded the success of signature George W. Bush and Barack Obama programs like Power Africa to provide electricity, the Young African Leaders Initiative to support upcoming leaders, and the PEPFAR initiative to fight HIV/AIDS…” (Dahir/Kazeem, 3/7).

Reuters: U.S. to provide more than $533 mln in aid amid African conflicts, drought
“The United States will give more than $533 million in humanitarian aid for victims of conflicts and drought in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and the West and Central African countries bordering Lake Chad, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday. … He also said the United States supported the creation of a development finance institution for Africa…” (Brice, 3/7).

Wall Street Journal: Tillerson to Stress Security, Trade on Africa Trip, as U.S. Seeks to Set Priorities
“…The Trump administration has yet to nominate a chief U.S. diplomat for Africa, while eight embassies, including South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, remain without ambassadors. The State Department has said its working with the White House to put officials in place and that career staffers are capable of the work in the interim…” (Stevis-Gridneff/Schwartz, 3/6).

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