Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson

10 March, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat discussed security and counter-terrorism, trade and development, corruption and conflict in an hour-long meeting at the continental body's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

The Africa trip - which also includes Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria - is Tillerson's first since he became the United States' top diplomat, and he announced more than half a billion dollars in aid just before embarking on the visit.

He said the USA was also eager to engage Kenya in the Big Four to assist in its delivery, especially on relevant investments.

He assured the president of the USA government's commitment to Kenya on matters trade and security. "A free and independent media is essential for safeguarding democracy and giving all Kenyans confidence in their government".

"The US is glad to see Kenya building investor confidence because that will help in the growth of the economy", Tillerson said.

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"I am cheering for success of Kenya", Mr Tillerson said, praising President Kenyatta for reaching out to Odinga. He also said the country had a "problem" with its judiciary that needed to be fixed.

According to the top United States diplomat, Chinese investments "do not bring significant job creation locally".

On trade, Tillerson said US supported AU's economic regional integration efforts to lower intra-trade barriers on the continent and boost more intra-regional trade.

"We are committed to supporting the IGAD High-Level Revitalization Forum, encouraging President Salva Kiir and the opposition to support the peace process, humanitarian assistance and the deployment of Regional Protection Force (RPF)", the President said.

Hopefully Secretary Tillerson's trip will be the beginning of a dialogue that will inform a yet to be released U.S. -Africa strategy. The bombings killed 224 people.

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Analysts say the Trump administration has focused mainly on security concerns in Africa at a time when China, Turkey and other nations are ramping up diplomatic and business links.

Making matters worse, Meservey said there's increasing evidence China may be targeting financially-unsteady African countries in a cynical play to attain strategic assets through defaults.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday advised African countries to be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.

Typically, reporters with Tillerson and from the host country get to ask the same number of questions. Both countries are trading accusations about who's to blame.

USA officials did not intervene to allow the US journalists to ask questions, according to a Reuters witness.

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