The head of the State Department participated in several regional events and held talks with the leaders of Kenya and Nigeria.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made his first visit to Africa, although, in fact, the head of the State Department did not go anywhere – the visit was made in virtual mode. Blinken participated in six events and met with the leadership of political heavyweights such as Kenya and Nigeria.
Protecting human rights through good governance is a cornerstone of American foreign policy. Blinken highlighted this issue as he opened the alumni meeting of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), supported by the US Government.
The young Africans asked the head of the US diplomatic department several difficult questions about climate change, Chinese influence, and the growth of extremism in Africa.
“We are committed to working with partners to ensure peace and security in Africa. In the short term, this sometimes looks like a security partnership, support for conflict resolution, and diplomatic protection of human rights. Ultimately, I think the most important thing we can do is help countries, where possible, strengthen their democratic institutions, strengthen their ability to deliver progress for people, economic growth, and this is the real foundation that we need to lay, ” the Secretary of State said
After a virtual meeting with YALI graduates, Blinken “moved” to Nigeria, where he held online talks with the president and Foreign Minister of that country. An hour and a half later, the Secretary of State held a virtual meeting with the President and the Foreign Minister of Kenya. Blinken, in particular, discussed with the authorities of both countries the issues of combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Blinken did not hide the fact that China is the largest geopolitical opponent of the United States, which seeks to influence Africa seriously.
“African countries will and should engage with a wide range of partners, be it China or France, Turkey or Brazil, the United States or many other countries, “he said,” and I hope that African countries and African communities approach this relationship with a full understanding of the context.”
“China is (our) global competitor, and competition is good if it is fair… However… we have different approaches to governance, to business and security issues, and the foundations of the partnership that we offer are sometimes very different (from China),” Blinken added. State Department officials say that this visit will not be Blinken’s last and that the Secretary of State hopes to visit the continent as soon as the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic is reduced.