US secretary of State to visit Nigeria today

United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has disclosed plans to embark on his first virtual visit to Africa, particularly Nigeria and Kenya today.

During the visit, Blinken will meet President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to underscore the United States and Nigeria’s shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification.

Blinken’s visit is coming at a time the United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, hinted on plans to visit Nigeria this week.

Duddridge disclosed while in Nigeria, he will meet with the government, civil society and business leaders to discuss partnership between the UK and Nigeria, human rights and electoral reforms.

“In Nigeria this week for a range of engagements with friends and partners across @NigeriaGov, civil society and business leaders to talk about Great Britain and Nigeria partnership in prosperity, human rights and electoral reforms,” Duddridge said on his Twitter handle.

United States Department of State spokesperson,  Ned Price, in a statement issued in Washington D.C, United States, said: “Blinken will today embark on his first virtual trip to Africa, where he will visit Kenya and Nigeria and engage with young people from across the continent.

“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 youths 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 youths.

“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, Blinken will meet with President Buhari and Onyeama to reiterate the value of our bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance.

“He will also participate in a health partnership event to underscore our collaboration to combat the pandemic, as well as long-term U.S. investments in combatting infectious diseases.  He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR programme and a Nigerian health care worker.”

Price further said Blinken’s virtual trip to Kenya will celebrate the United States and Kenya’s 57-year bilateral relationship.

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