Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, unveiled a substantial $45 million contribution on Tuesday to address the escalating security challenges in Nigeria and neighboring coastal West African countries.
This announcement follows Blinken’s meeting with Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank in Côte d’Ivoire, marking the second stop of his four-country tour across West Africa. The tour, spanning Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Angola, is scheduled from January 21 to 26.
Reuters reports that this additional funding supplements the $300 million previously allocated by the U.S. to support initiatives in coastal West Africa over the last two years. Blinken, speaking in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s capital, emphasized the interconnected destinies and prosperity of America and Africa. He highlighted that Washington has contributed nearly $300 million in stability-focused assistance since 2022.
The U.S. Secretary of State stressed the significance of mutual security challenges and praised Ivory Coast’s leadership in combating extremism and violence. He noted a 15-fold increase in military training and investments in civil protection in Ivory Coast.
West African countries have grappled with insurgencies originating in Mali in 2012, spreading across the Sahel region despite international military efforts. The U.S. faced a setback in its fight against militants in the Sahel when military juntas toppled Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, a key ally, in July last year. Meanwhile, Nigeria has experienced numerous banditry attacks and kidnappings, particularly in the north-central region.
As part of his West Africa tour, Blinken is set to visit Nigeria on January 23 before concluding his trip in Angola. The engagements underscore the U.S. commitment to addressing security challenges and fostering cooperation with African nations.