Africa should avoid forfeiting sovereignty to China over loans: Tillerson

10 March, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • ISS Today: US and China inch towards awkward co-operation in Africa

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Addis Ababa today, his first stop on his first visit to Africa as U.S. Secretary of State.

The U.S. has lauded the African Union ( AU ) Commission for its efforts at Africa's integration, describing it as "a force for good".

The United States says African countries could lose sovereignty if they are not careful about the loans they receive from China.

Tillerson, in his response, said the USA commitment to Africa was quite clear in terms of the importance the country placed on the relationship.

"That includes supporting greater intra- and global-trade investments in Africa as the environment creates competitive conditions", he stressed.

"The goal of my trip is to listen to what the priorities of the countries here on the continent are and see where there is good alignment", said Tillerson.

The envoy said U.S. is interested in widening its investment in Kenya as well as strengthening the bilateral and trade relations.

Secretary Tillerson has also urged Africa countries to join the worldwide communities' decision of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula by putting pressure on North Korea.


Tillerson's department, meanwhile, submitted a 2019 budget request that would cut USA health programs in Africa by a fifth and diplomatic programs by more than a third.

The secretary of state said the U.S. was not attempting to keep Chinese investment out of Africa, but said "it is important for African countries to carefully consider the terms of those investments".

"Africans are mature enough to engage in partnerships of their own volition", he said.

In the Ethiopian capital, Tillerson commented on China's increasing dominance in Africa, warning countries not to "forfeit your sovereignty".

President Kenyatta said the solid friendship and cooperation that continues to deepen, only serves to encourage Kenya to strengthen its resolve to work together with the USA towards an even brighter future.

However, we think it's important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those investments, and we witness the model that the Chinese follow. In an illustration of how just how prickly U.S. -Russia relations have become, even that seemingly bureaucratic issue became a matter of fierce disagreement.

Tillerson said the US was providing the humanitarian assistance "to fight starvation and food insecurity". China is the continent's largest trading partner and has invested in infrastructure across the continent.

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