US Secretary of State, Mr Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Nigeria and Kenya today (Tuesday).
Blinken will pay a virtual visit to Nigeria and Kenya where he plans to meet with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, Premium Times reports. US President Joe Biden earlier invited President Buhari and 39 other world leaders to a virtual summit to galvanise efforts in tackling the climate crisis.
The two-day summit was targeted to mark America’s return to the frontlines of the fight against human-caused climate change, after former President Donald Trump disengaged from the process.
The State’s Spokesperson, Ned Price, in a statement on Monday said, the purpose of Blinken’s visit is to engage with young people from across the continent.
Mr Price said, “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 US investments in combatting infectious diseases. He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR program and a Nigerian health care worker.
“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.”
It was noted in the statement that the Secretary of State will also visit Kenyan-based renewable energy companies that, thanks in part to US government engagement, are a model of innovative clean energy alternatives in Africa.
He said, “Finally, as part of our solidarity with Kenya amid the global pandemic, we will highlight a US-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.”