U.S. Secretary of State Blinken Meets Tinubu, Pledges $45m

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday the commitment of an additional $45 million in security funding for West African nations as part of an ongoing initiative to address instability in the region.

This brings the total funding under the program, which is one year old, to nearly $300 million. The statement was reported by both AFP and Reuters.

During a visit that includes a four-nation tour of African democracies, Blinken held separate meetings with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. The discussions focused on various aspects of the U.S.-African partnerships, covering trade, climate, infrastructure, health, and security, among other issues. This visit follows a summit in Washington with African leaders in December 2022.

Blinken, during talks with the two key leaders, emphasized the need for progress in combating coups and extremism in West Africa, pointing to Ivory Coast as a positive example. In Abidjan, he commended Ivory Coast’s stance against last year’s coup in Niger and highlighted the country’s strategy of “building security together” by making economic investments to counter extremism in northern regions 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 stated alongside President Ouattara. He expressed confidence that Ivory Coast’s approach could serve as a powerful model for other countries.

The Secretary of State acknowledged the mutual security challenges faced by both nations and commended Ivory Coast’s leadership in the fight against extremism and violence. Blinken also pledged to increase cooperation on the ground with Ivory Coast, primarily through the training of its security forces. The focus on security in West Africa comes in the wake of various security challenges in the region, including a coup in Niger and ongoing terrorist activities in Nigeria.

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