US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (left) with President Joe Biden at a past forum. [Photo/ Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs]
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (left) with President Joe Biden at a past forum. [Photo/ Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs]

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal this week on his first official tour of the African continent.  Joe Biden’s top diplomat has several meetings lined up, with talks to focus on regional security, the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 elections, climate change and the economy.

Blinken is expected to arrive in Nairobi on Tuesday, November 16 for meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb. Raychelle Omamo. Ongoing conflict in neighboring Ethiopia will feature prominently in his talks with Uhuru.

Notably, Kenyatta was in Ethiopia on Sunday, November 14 to meet Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali whose government is facing an onslaught from Tigrayan forces. The US Bureau of African Affairs also disclosed that security matters in Sudan and Somalia will feature in the talks.

The US also highlighted their push for “peaceful and inclusive” elections in Kenya in 2022.

“The Secretary will advance U.S.-Kenyan cooperation on ending COVID-19, improving clean energy access, and protecting the environment.  The Secretary will underscore U.S. support for a peaceful and inclusive Kenyan election in 2022,” the bureau confirmed.

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In Abuja, Nigeria, Blinken will meet President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama. Top on his agenda will be furthering cooperation on global health security, expanding energy access and economic growth, and revitalizing democracy.

“The Secretary will deliver a speech on U.S.-Africa policy in the capital of Africa’s largest democracy. Additionally, the Secretary will engage with Nigerian entrepreneurs in the digital sector,” the Bureau for African Affairs noted.

Blinken will then head to Dakar, where he will meet President Macky Sall and Foreign Minister Aïssata Tall Sall.

The US noted: “Given President Sall’s upcoming African Union chairmanship, Secretary Blinken looks forward to discussing regional issues and shared values.  The Secretary will engage in events that highlight America’s strong commercial relationship with Senegal, amplify the role of female Senegalese entrepreneurs, and showcase the U.S. partnership to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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