Tillerson slams China ahead of his African tour


On Thursday, a statement by Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the State Department, revealed that Tillerson will travel to Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria on his first trip to Africa as a top US diplomat.

The trip, his first official visit to Africa, as Secretary of State, would take him first to Ethiopia and then to Djibouti from where he would go to Kenya, and then to Chad, before coming to Nigeria.

Audio will be available later today.

The attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam 20 years ago this August prefigured an era of terrorism in Africa, Mr Tillerson said.

Tillerson, who departs later Tuesday for Ethiopia, also sought to contrast the USA approach to Africa to that of China, which he says "encourages dependency" that undermines sovereignty on the continent.

He said: "Now we had over two dozens African countries with democratically elected governments and which are hopefully not going to have transitions in government through coup d'etats and other illegal methods".

Without partnerships to build infrastructure and achieve more economic development, Tillerson warned there will be "new ways for terrorists to exploit the next generation."He said the administration is willing to collaborate with African countries to address the "drivers of conflict" and to build the "institutional law enforcement capacity of African nations". This comes at an important time when countries like Nigeria and Chad are struggling with attacks from the Boko Haram insurgency while Ethiopia and Kenya are plagued with political crises.

More news: Donald Trump vows to 'counteract' any Russia election meddling

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

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

Speaking during a media briefing, Yamamoto said he and American Ambassador Robert Godec have held numerous talks with Odinga and other opposition figures in the past, thus, no need for any meeting with Tillerson.

The US would do more to reduce trade and investment barriers for African partners, he said. In November, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would lift the Obama-era ban, Trump personally intervened to keep it in place.

Of the newly announced funds, more than $128 million is for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region. About $184 million was destined South Sudan and $110 million for Somalia amid conflicts in both countries.

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.