Blinken Holds Talks with Tinubu, Pledge $45 Million Security Fund

On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $45 million in aid to West African nations as part of an ongoing initiative to address instability.
Antony Blinken and Tinubu
Antony Blinken and Tinubugoogle

This contribution brings the total funding for the year-old program to nearly $300 million, according to reports from AFP and Reuters.

As part of a diplomatic tour covering four African democracies, Blinken held separate meetings with President Bola Tinubu and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara on Tuesday.

The primary focus of the discussions during the tour was centered around strengthening U.S.-African partnerships in various areas such as trade, climate, infrastructure, health, and security. This diplomatic effort follows a summit held in Washington with African leaders in December 2022.

During the talks, Blinken emphasized the importance of making progress in combating coups and extremism in West Africa. He highlighted Ivory Coast as a positive example during discussions with the two key leaders. While in Abidjan, AFP reports that Blinken commended Ivory Coast for its resolute stance against last year's coup in Niger.

He acknowledged Ivory Coast's strategy of "building security together" by making economic investments to counter extremism in the northern regions bordering Mali and Burkina Faso.

In his statements, Blinken emphasized the significance of collaborative efforts in promoting regional security and economic development in West Africa.

“I have to applaud the approach that’s been taken by Cote d’Ivoire – working with communities, listening to communities, making sure that their security forces understand the needs, the concerns of communities,” Blinken said alongside Ouattara.

“I think that can serve as a very powerful model for other countries,” he added.

“We spent a lot of time discussing mutual security challenges,” Blinken said. “We appreciate Ivory Coast’s leadership in the fight against extremism and violence.”

“We have increased military training by 15 times and are investing in civil protection in Ivory Coast,” Blinken added, according to Reuters.

Blinken promised to boost cooperation on the ground with Ivory Coast, largely through training of its security forces.

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