governance disconnect

Nigeria/US: Can Blinken repair Trump-era damage, while pushing for improvement from Abuja?

By Julian Pecquet, Dele Yusuf

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Posted on November 19, 2021 11:54

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja
U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria November 19, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Nigeria as part of his three-nation tour in Africa. In the course of his meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government officials in Abuja, he will be sending a strong message to China, its long-standing rival in the continent, that Africa’s largest democracy and economy remains its key ally. But what about priority areas in building stronger ties between the two countries? 

In his first visit to Nigeria since the beginning of the Biden administration, Blinken spoke Thursday of America’s commitment to building stronger ties as well as supporting democracy and governance in Africa’s most populous country.

He followed up Friday in a speech before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the announcement that President Joe Biden would be hosting a US-Africa Leaders Summit at a date yet to be determined “to drive the kind of high-level diplomacy and engagement that can transform relationships and make effective cooperation possible.”

However, Matthew Page, an associate fellow at Chatham House and former US intelligence official, doesn’t seem convinced. “Secretary Blinken missed an opportunity to fix Washington’s weak, dissonant approach toward Nigeria,” Page tells The Africa Report. “His talk of Washington’s ‘strong partnership’ with an

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