US diplomat on African affairs starts three-nation African visit in SA

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and Kenyan president William Ruto.
US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and Kenyan president William Ruto.
Twitter/Brian Fidel
  • US diplomat Molly Phee will attend the inaugural University Partnerships Initiative Summit in Pretoria.
  • She will meet political and civic society leaders in Nigeria ahead of the general elections.
  • At the African Union Summit, she will be joined by the US Africa Leaders Summit's coordinator.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee is on a three-nation Africa tour that will end in Ethiopia for the African Union (AU) Summit. Phee arrived in South Africa on Sunday.

She is the second US diplomat in South Africa this week after Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment José Fernandez arrived in Cape Town.

Fernandez is expected to give a keynote address at the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba - Africa's largest mining investment conference.

Phee will also visit Nigeria and end her trip to Ethiopia.

Her two-week visit to Africa will also centre on politics, engaging civil society, the youth, the private sector, religious leaders, and government representatives, just like other American envoys who have been to the continent since the start of the year.

In South Africa, she will participate in the University Partnerships Initiative Summit at the Future Africa Campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) " to show US support for advancing higher education across the continent".

READ | Yellen warns against violating Russia sanctions during SA stop of Africa Tour

According to UP, the first-of-its-kind summit themed Equitable and Sustainable Partnerships for Impact, will "explore approaches to strengthen, leverage and expand these partnerships to create a more sustainable impact on society in the post-Covid era".

In Nigeria, she will arrive a few days before the general elections to choose a president, vice-president, and members of the senate and house of representatives.

The European Union (EU) already has the largest observer mission of 40 long-term election observers across Nigeria who joined 11 election experts already in Abuja.

But the US' biggest interest in seeing democracy prevail in Nigeria so far, is restricting entry to people "believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria".

Phee will meet several stakeholders in Nigeria ahead of the upcoming elections.

"In Lagos and Abuja, Assistant Secretary Phee will engage civil society, youth, the private sector, religious leaders, election officials, political party leaders, and government representatives. 

The US state department said: 

Her visit will underscore the US commitment to supporting free and fair elections in February and March that are conducted peacefully.

On the last leg of her tour, she will head to Ethiopia as African heads of state convene for the AU Summit.

On that trip, she will be joined by Johnnie Carson, the special presidential representative for the US-Africa Leaders Summit implementation. 

"They will meet with heads of state and ministers attending the summit. This visit is an example of US action to deepen and expand our partnership with African governments, businesses, and the public to meet the shared challenges and opportunities of our era," the US state department said.

ALSO READ | US warns African countries of Wagner Group amid recruitment of prisoners to fight in Ukraine

At the AU summit, the brief for the US diplomats is simple - to affirm the importance of a powerful AU aligned with America and the West.

In recent weeks, senior US and Russian officials have visited African countries in an attempt to deepen ties with nations on the continent.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Who do you think should lead the Democratic Alliance after the party’s upcoming national congress in April?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
John Steenhuisen for sure, he’s got the experience
63% - 998 votes
Mpho Phalatse, the DA needs a fresh outlook
37% - 591 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.