US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday arrived in Kenya for a three-day visit against the backdrop of a significant political gesture— the meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga.
Tillerson, whose country and other western partners have been pushing for dialogue to ease political tensions in Kenya, began his maiden tour of Africa on Thursday in Ethiopia.
He was received at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Monica Juma, US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, and the ministry’s Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba shortly before 5pm.
The US top diplomat later met President Uhuru and other government officials to discuss issues including the country’s democratic process, refugees, press freedom and strengthening of the diplomatic ties between Washington and Nairobi.
On Thursday, Juma said Tillerson’s first trip to Kenya would also involve discussions on wildlife protection, the status of the African Union and “people-people” engagements. His arrival in Africa has been seen as aimed at addressing increasing inclination of the continent towards China.
While in Ethiopia, Tillerson warned African nations against accepting Chinese cash in agreements which could “forfeit their sovereignty.” “We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa,” Tillerson said.
“They are badly needed. However, it is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those investments. The model the Chinese follow does not bring significant job creation locally.
They don’t bring significant training programs that enable citizens to participate broadly in the future,” he said at a press conference that followed his meeting with African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki.