Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed the United States’ commitment to being a strong security partner for Nigeria during a meeting with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu. The U.S. supports Nigeria’s military in its ongoing battle against Islamist insurgents, alongside allies such as Britain. The meeting also addressed challenges to democracy and security in the region, particularly following the coup in neighboring Niger. The series of coups and attempted power grabs in West and Central Africa over the past few years has raised concerns about stability in the region.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Blinken emphasized the importance of focusing on civilian protection and humanitarian considerations in the ongoing conflict. The discussion acknowledged concerns raised by observers about deadly aerial assaults by the Nigerian military that resulted in civilian casualties, as highlighted in a Reuters special report last year. The U.S. has faced challenges in its fight against militants in the Sahel, notably with the military coup in Niger, a key ally.
During his visit to Abuja as part of a four-nation tour of Africa, Blinken also addressed economic challenges in Nigeria. He highlighted the need to tackle issues such as repatriation of capital and corruption to create a favorable environment for foreign investment. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, faces concerns about a backlog of forex forwards totaling about $7 billion, impacting the naira currency. Despite assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address the backlog, challenges persist, with approximately $2 billion paid so far across various sectors.
Blinken’s tour, which includes stops in Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola, aims to address various diplomatic and economic issues across the African continent.