… Pledges $45m Security Fund For Nigeria, Others
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said the US would provide an additional $45m to West African nations as part of a plan to battle instability, bringing total funding under the year-old programme to nearly $300m, according to reports by AFP and Reuters.
In a four-nation tour of African democracies, Blinken met separately Tuesday with President Bola Tinubu and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.
The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has assured of the country’s companies’ readiness to partner with and invest in the Nigerian economy.
Blinken made the remark in Abuja during his visit to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.
“American entrepreneurs and companies are ready to partner and invest in Nigeria, particularly in the tech sector,” he said while briefing the press after he met with Tinubu at the State House in Abuja
“We have tech giants that have teamed up with Nigerian partners to help meet President Bola Tinubu’s one million digital jobs initiative.”
“Our tech entrepreneurs are fostering Nigeria’s next start-ups and our venture capital companies are working to finance them,” Blinken added, saying American firms are also working to broaden internet access in the West African country.
“So, we want to work in partnership to drive Nigeria’s tech revolution,” he said.
The trip was to discuss US-African partnerships over trade, climate, infrastructure, health, security and other issues. It follows a summit in Washington with African leaders in December 2022.
Blinken sought progress combatting coups and extremism in West Africa in talks with two key leaders, as he pointed to Ivory Coast as a model.
AFP reports that while in Abidjan, Blinken hailed Ivory Coast’s stand against last year’s coup in Niger and its approach of “building security together” by investing economically to combat extremism in northern areas bordering Mali and Burkina Faso.
“I have to applaud the approach that’s been taken by Cote d’Ivoire – working with communities, listening to communities, making sure that their security forces understand the needs, the concerns of communities,” Blinken said alongside Ouattara.
“I think that can serve as a very powerful model for other countries,” he added.
“We spent a lot of time discussing mutual security challenges,” Blinken said. “We appreciate Ivory Coast’s leadership in the fight against extremism and violence.”
“We have increased military training by 15 times and are investing in civil protection in Ivory Coast,” Blinken added, according to Reuters.
Blinken promised to boost cooperation on the ground with Ivory Coast, largely through training of its security forces.
Last year was marred by security challenges in Africa including a major coup that toppled democratic leadership in Niger. This is just as terrorists also continue to strike in Nigeria such as the Christmas Eve killing of close to 200 people in Plateau and most recently the kidnapping epidemic plaguing the country.