Antony Blinken to make a first virtual visit to Africa

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will make a virtual visit to Africa for the first time and will meet with the Presidents of Nigeria and Kenya. 

Tuesday’s tour includes meeting with African youth from the African continent. Blinken will then meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama “to reiterate the value of our bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance”, the state department said in a statement.

This visit was due to the fact that the security situation in the country, a major oil exporter, continues to spiral amid attacks by the Islamic State West Africa Province in North and the situation is getting worse with widespread displacement and increasing incidents of kidnapping for ransom.

During Blinkens’ virtual visit to Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo will attend the “57th Anniversary of Bilateral Relations” and discuss future cooperation to promote democracy and expand trade, and discuss coping with global challenges including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” the US State Department said. 

Kenya is also struggling with insecurity and displacement in neighboring countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan. 

The visit comes after the Biden government appointed veteran diplomat Jeffrey Feltman as special envoy for the Horn of Africa, on Friday, as Washington seeks to step up diplomatic efforts in a conflict-torn region in Ethiopia, Tigray and other crises. Feltman will also make international efforts to ease the tension between Ethiopia and Sudan and around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Blinken said in a statement.

The fighting in Tigray between rebels and government forces from Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee their homes in the region of around five million people.