From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has disclosed plans to embark on his first virtual visit to Africa, particularly Nigeria and Kenya, on April 27.
During the visit, Blinken will meet President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama to underscore the United States’ and Nigeria’s shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification.
Blinken’s visit is coming at a time the United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa James Duddridge disclosed plans to visit Nigeria this week.
Duddridge disclosed that while in Nigeria, he will meet with the government, civil society and business leaders to discuss partnership between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, human rights and electoral reform.
‘In Nigeria this week for a range of engagements with friends and partners across @NigeriaGov, civil society and business leaders to talk about Great Britain and Nigeria partnership in prosperity, human rights and electoral reform,’ Duddridge said on Twitter.
The Spokesperson, United States Department of State, Ned Price, in a statement issued in Washington DC, said: ‘Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will embark tomorrow, April 27, on his first virtual trip to Africa, where he will visit Kenya and Nigeria and engage with young people from across the continent.
‘Secretary Blinken will begin his virtual travel to Africa meeting with Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) alumni. In a “Ten Questions with Tony” event, YALI alumni will have an opportunity to engage with the Secretary on a range of topics, including the role of youth in the future of Africa, economic development, democracy and good governance, climate change, and health. Through YALI, the United States works with public, private sector, and civil society partners across the continent to develop initiatives and economic opportunities to support the creativity, innovativeness, and energy of Africa’s youth.
‘Secretary Blinken will then travel virtually to Nigeria, where he will underscore our shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification. People-to-people connections, underpinned by the dynamic Nigerian diaspora in the United States, amplify and strengthen our relationship. During his visit, Secretary Blinken will meet with President Buhari and Foreign Minister Onyeama to reiterate the value of our bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance. Secretary Blinken will also participate in a health partnership event to underscore our collaboration to combat the pandemic, as well as long-term U.S. investments in combatting infectious diseases. He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR program and a Nigerian health care worker.’
Price further said Blinken’s virtual trip to Kenya will celebrate the United States and Kenya’s 57-year bilateral relationship.
‘Secretary Blinken will meet with President Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary Omamo to reaffirm our strategic partnership, discuss future cooperation to promote democracy and expand trade, and explore avenues to address global challenges, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary will also visit Kenyan-based renewable energy companies that, thanks in part to U.S. government engagement, are a model of innovative clean energy alternatives in Africa. Finally, as part of our solidarity with Kenya amid the global pandemic, we will highlight a U.S.-donated Mobile Field Hospital to which the United States is providing essential COVID-19 medical supplies through AFRICOM and the Massachusetts National Guard’s State Partnership Program,’ Price also said.