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US announces $533m for Nigeria, others as Tillerson begins Africa tour

08 March 2018

The U.S Secretary of state, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who said this ahead of his coming visit to Africa, said Nigeria's 2019 general election is a major priority for the U.S because the country would be the "third most populous country in the world by 2050".

While the top United States diplomat has a broad itinerary on his five-nation trip, Africa experts say Tillerson's planned stops in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria underscore the emphasis on security - and away from the traditional United States role as advocate and partner for good governance and development.

Audio will be available later today.

State Department officials said Tillerson wanted to hear from leaders in Africa in what ways they're most eager to collaborate with the United States.

In a speech in Virginia on Tuesday, Tillerson said Chinese investment has the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap.

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The U.S., in contrast, wants to partner with African countries while promoting rule of law and democratic development, he said.

Tillerson's words came just before his departure later on Tuesday for an 8-day tour of Africa.

Terror attacks in Africa have claimed more than 1,500 lives in each of the past three years, Mr Tillerson said.

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

"Since that day, thousands more have died at the hands of terrorists in Africa", the top U.S. diplomat told listeners at a university in the state of Virginia.

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The trip comes as the Trump administration reverses course - again - on whether to let Americans import the body parts of African elephants shot for recreation.

The humanitarian assistance includes more than $110 million for affected populations from Somalia.

In Ethiopia, for example, total US investment of around $567 million, is dwarfed by Chinese investments, which are more than $15 billion, according to the State Department.

Though he has yet to visit as diplomat, Tillerson is not a stranger to Africa, which he visited frequently in search of deals in his previous job as CEO of Exxon Mobil.

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US announces $533m for Nigeria, others as Tillerson begins Africa tour