In a bid to combat conflict and bolster stability in coastal West Africa, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pledged an additional $45 million in funding. This comes amidst rising insecurity due to jihadist insurgencies in the region.
Blinken is currently on the second leg of his four-nation African tour, which includes stops in Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola from Jan. 21-26. The primary focus of his trip is to engage in discussions about U.S.-African partnerships covering trade, climate, infrastructure, health, security, and other pertinent matters. This tour follows a summit held in Washington with African leaders in December 2022.
During his visit, Blinken intends to address several critica issues, including security challenges in West Africa, the aftermath of the Niger coup last year, and Russia’s increasing influence in the region.
Upon his arrival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s financial capital, on Monday evening, Blinken held a meeting with President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday morning. During a joint press briefing following the meeting, Blinken announced the additional financial commitment.
Ivory Coast has been among the countries in coastal West Africa affected by Islamist insurgencies that originated in Mali in 2012 and have since spread across the Sahel region, despite significant and costly international military efforts to contain them.