Blinken in Africa: All eyes on Pretoria as US Secretary of State set to launch US strategy for sub-Saharan Africa today

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in South Africa. Picture: Dirco

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in South Africa. Picture: Dirco

Published Aug 8, 2022


US Secretary of State Antony John Blinken says the US' relationships across the African continent are absolutely central to meeting global challenges.

“That's why I'm on a trip to South Africa, the DRC, and Rwanda. We're strengthening our partnerships to build a better future for our people," Blinken said an interview with South African media on Sunday.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, is scheduled to host the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today in Pretoria, on the occasion of the South Africa – US strategic dialogue.

Analysts say that Blinken’s quick tour of Africa looks to reinforce the US view that African countries are geostrategic players and critical partners when it comes to pressing continental and world issues.

On Sunday, Blinken visited the Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando West, Soweto.

“The Hector Petersen Museum is living history – it reminds us of the power of young people to make change in society,” Blinken said.

This week, the US partnered with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Covax to donate more than 1.9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to six countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Blinken will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo between August 9 – 10, where he will meet with senior DRC government officials and members of civil society to discuss our mutual interest in ensuring free, inclusive, and fair elections next year, promoting respect for human rights and protecting fundamental freedoms.

According to his office, he will also focus on combating corruption, supporting trade and investment, addressing the climate crisis, building agricultural resilience, and support regional African efforts to advance peace in eastern DRC and the broader Great Lakes region.

Blinken will travel to Rwanda on August 10 – 11, where he will meet with senior Rwandan government officials and civil society members to discuss shared priorities, including peacekeeping.

The secretary will focus on the role the government of Rwanda can play in reducing tensions and ongoing violence in eastern DRC. He will also raise democracy and human rights concerns, including transnational repression, limiting space for dissent and political opposition, and the wrongful detention of US lawful permanent resident Paul Rusesabagina.

From promoting an open and stable international system, to tackling the effects of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics, to shaping our technological and economic futures, the US is looking to make inroads in Africa, quickly amid a fresh global battle for Africa.