How should Africa deal with Mike Pompeo? He has been confirmed as U.S. Secretary of State

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The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed Mike Pompeo as the  nation’s 70th Secretary of State.

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He was sworn in immediately and dashed to Joint Base Andrews where a plane would take him to Brussels on his first trip abroad as Secretary of State.

“I am pleased with the Senate’s confirmation of Mike Pompeo to serve as our country’s top diplomat,” President Trump said in a statement.

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“Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history. He will always put the interests of America first. He has my trust. He has my support. Today, he has my congratulations on becoming America’s 70th Secretary of State,” the President added.

In Europe, he would meet with NATO allies, and discuss challenges across the world, including how to handle the deteriorating situation in Syria, the Nuclear deal with Iran, North Korea and Russia.

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“U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Brussels, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Amman, April 26-30. The Secretary looks forward to meeting key Allies and partners on his first official trip as Secretary of State,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The Secretary will travel to Brussels April 26-27, where he will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and participate in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, during which Allies will discuss preparations for July’s NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting. The Secretary will then travel to the Middle East, where he will meet with Saudi, Israeli, and Jordanian leaders to discuss critical regional and bilateral issues,” it added.

But, but it is not clear what the Trump administration policy is for Africa.

Mr. Trump, who would be receiving the first African leader at the White House on April 30, has said little about what he intends to do in Africa or what type of partnership he would like to have.

That responsibility may fall on the shoulders of Pompeo, the former CIA director, who is described as a policy hawk.

Mr. Trump has been pursuing his America First policy and many African countries have struggled to see how he intended to interact with them. The former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to cut his first trip to Africa short and was sacked on the plane on his way home.

Africa is struggling with challenges spanning from insecurity, poverty, badly organized elections to unfair trade. Mr. Trump was expected to be a partner, but so far, he has failed to deliver.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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