• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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US pledges additional $45 million to combat insecurity in West Africa

From super tucanos to super solutions: Insecurity still a pain in Nigeria’s neck

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, on Tuesday announced an additional $45 million in US funding for West African nations facing security challenges.

According to reports by AFP and Reuters, this brings the total US commitment under the one-year-old program to nearly $300 million.

Blinken announced during a four-nation tour of African democracies, including meetings with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

The tour focuses on US-African partnerships on trade, climate, infrastructure, health, security, and other issues, building on a December 2022 summit in Washington.

Blinken praised Ivory Coast’s response to the 2023 coup in Niger and its “building security together” approach, which combines economic investment with counter-extremism efforts in northern regions bordering Mali and Burkina Faso.

“I applaud Cote d’Ivoire’s approach of working with and listening to communities, ensuring security forces understand their needs and concerns,” Blinken said alongside Ouattara. “This can be a powerful model for other countries.”

He added, “We discussed mutual security challenges and appreciate Ivory Coast’s leadership in fighting extremism and violence.”

Blinken announced increased US military training for Ivory Coast, a 15-fold increase, and investments in civil protection. He also pledged to strengthen cooperation on the ground, primarily through security force training.

The announcement comes amid persistent security threats in Africa, including coup in Niger, terrorist attacks in Nigeria (including the Christmas Eve killings in Plateau), and ongoing kidnappings across the country.