By Innocent Odoh, Abuja
United States (US) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will embark today, April 27, on his first virtual trip to Africa, where he will visit Nigeria and Kenya to discuss issues of insecurity, democratic governance and economic development.
A statement issued yesterday by the Public Affairs Division of the US Embassy in Abuja, said “Secretary Blinken’s virtual travel to Nigeria, will afford the opportunity to underscore the shared goals of both Nigeria and the US in strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification.”
The visit will also focus on people-to-people connections, underpinned by the dynamic Nigerian Diaspora in the United States, as well as to amplify and strengthen the relationship between both countries.
During his visit, Secretary Blinken will meet with President Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama to reiterate the value of the bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance, the statement added.
Secretary Blinken will then participate in a health partnership event to underscore US collaboration to combat the pandemic as well as long-term U.S. investments in combating infectious diseases. He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR programme and a Nigerian health care worker.
The statement said further that Secretary Blinken will meet with Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) alumni, where he will engage with young people from across the continent.
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, the statement said.
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.
“The Secretary’s virtual trip to Kenya will celebrate our 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 Programme,” the statement added.