Africa Tour: After meeting President Tinubu in Abuja, US Secretary of State Blinken visits Lagos

...Opens new American Corner, Lekki

In continuation of his four-nation Africa tour with a visit to Nigeria, United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on Wednesday, officially commissioned the ‘American Corner’ in Lekki area of Lagos State, and also met with representatives of Nigerian startups addressing social and environmental challenges.

Blinken also visited the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to see firsthand the work they are doing to improve public health, particularly in addressing HIV, COVID-19, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

The American Corner, Lekki is aimed at supporting youth innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity in Nigeria.

In his remarks, Blinken stated that the American Corner in Lekki will “reinforce that incredibly vibrant relationship between our countries and between our peoples.”

“Nigeria has more American Spaces than any other African country, 24 locations in 21 cities, 4,400 programs reaching 100,000 Nigerians every year, and now number 25,” he added.

“Great to be here to open the new American Corner in Lagos. I hope this state-of-the-art facility will empower even more young Nigerians to harness their innovative ideas, grow their businesses, and advance STEM education and career prospects,” Blinken also posted on X.

During his Lagos visit, Blinken was accompanied by the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, and other US government officials.

Earlier on Tuesday, Blinken had visited Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, where he was received by the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, and later met and had a closed-door with President Bola Tinubu, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

On Tuesday, Blinken stated that the US would provide an additional $45m to West African nations as part of a plan to battle instability, bringing total funding under the year-old programme to nearly $300m, according to reports by Reuters.

At the joint press meeting with Nigeria’s Foreign Minister at the Statehouse, Abuja, Blinken noted that the US “is committed to strengthening genuine partnerships on the continent, to work to solve shared challenges, and also to deliver on the promise and the fundamental aspirations of our people.”

He said, “At the UN General Assembly just this past September, President Tinubu said, and I quote, “Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”  I’m here in Nigeria at President Biden’s behest, and earlier this week we were in Cabo Verde and Côte d’Ivoire, and we’ll be going to Angola, because we share that conviction.  Africa has shaped our past; it is shaping the present; it will shape our future.

“Nigeria, as Africa’s largest country, largest economy, largest democracy, is essential to that effort.  And we are doing a lot of work together already to drive in a positive direction.  We’re driving climate action, as partners in the Global Methane coalition.  We’re pushing for permanent representation for African voices at the UN Security Council, in other international organizations that need to reflect the realities of today, not just the day that they were created many, many years ago.”

Blinken’s Africa tour includes visits to Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Angola between January 21 and 26. The trip will highlight how the US-Africa partnership has improved, since the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in 2022, in areas such as infrastructure, climate, food, health and security.


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