United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo concluded a trip to Dakar, Senegal on Sunday, February 15. While there he held talks with the country’s leaders, including President, Macky Sall, and Foreign Minister, Amadou Ba, according to this release from the State Department.
While the discussions in Senegal focused on security matters, especially as the U.S. announced the drawdown of troops stationed in the continent, and while tensions continued over restrictions in travel affecting four African nations, there were business matters involved with the trip
“In Senegal, Pompeo met with business leaders and announced five projects that would involve U.S. companies, including a new 100-mile-long highway,” according to the Washington Post.
The trip was the first in 18 months since a senior-level member of the Trump administration made a trip to the continent, an analysis from the Washington Free Beacon states.
“Pompeo’s stops in Africa are meant to push back against mounting criticism that the Trump administration is backing away from the global stage and focusing inward on America domestically.”
The United States’ absence from the continent even while it says it wants to counter China there is what most analysts appeared worried about.
This headline from the Voice of America encapsulates the U.S. absence in the continent. Pompeo Heads to Africa After Long Absence, the headlines state.
“Pompeo is visiting Senegal, Angola, and Ethiopia as the Trump administration tries to counter the growing interest of China, Russia, and other global powers in Africa and its booming young population of more than 1.2 billion.”
From Senegal Pompeo heads to Angola, and then to Ethiopia on what is being described as a 10-day trip through Africa and the Middle East.