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Q&A: “Pleasantly Surprised” Pompeo Did Not Focus on China During Recent Africa Tour

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa on February 19, 2020. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP

Prior to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s arrival in Africa for his three-nation tour that wrapped up in Ethiopia on Thursday, Gabon-based China-Africa analyst Cornelia Tremann wrote a column for The Lowy Institute’s “The Interpreter” website where she made a series of recommendations for what Secretary Pompeo should focus on during this trip in order to improve U.S. standing on the continent amid heightened competition with China.

“Instead of mentioning Chinese debt, Secretary Pompeo ought to signal a U.S. willingness to stay engaged in Africa by filling key Africa posts in the State Department, appointing ambassadors to African countries, and committing practically to implementing the U.S.’s new private- sector investment strategy,” she wrote in her column.

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