Washington – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, the State Department said Wednesday, putting a focus on a continent rarely prioritized by the Trump administration.
The State Department said that Pompeo will travel to Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia from February 15 to 19, meeting the leaders of all three countries.
He will start in Dakar, where he will meet President Mackay Sall and Foreign Minister Amadou Ba with whom they will discuss how to deepen a strong security and economic partnership.
Africa Tembelea understands that Pompeo will then travel to Luanda, Angola on February 17, where he will meet with President Joao Lourenço and Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto to reaffirm U.S. support for Angola’s anti-corruption and democratization efforts.
The state department adds that he will also meet with economic stakeholders and the business community to discuss the fight against corruption, and growing bilateral trade and investment opportunities.
From Luanda, Africa Tembelea has learnt that Pompeo will then travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from February 17-19 and is expected to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde to discuss joint efforts of promoting regional security as well as support to Ethiopia’s historic political and economic reform agenda.
The US. Secretary of State will then hold talks with the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Addis Ababa and deliver remarks.
From Addis Ababa, Pompeo, a stalwart ally of Trump, will head to Saudi Arabia for talks in the wake of a US-ordered strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, a top general of the kingdom’s regional rival Iran.
He is also expected to stop in Oman to meet the new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq, and offer condolences over the death of his predecessor Qaboos, who was the Arab world’s longest-serving leader and served as a go-between for Iran and the United States.
Pompeo’s trip comes exactly two years after his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, paid a five-nation visit to Africa.
Trump fired him on his return home, with the White House saying Tillerson learned the news while on the toilet after catching a stomach bug in Africa.
President Donald Trump is not known for his interest in Africa and notoriously was reported to have used a vulgar epithet for African countries when discussing sources of immigrants.