US secretary of state Mike Pompeo began a tour of Africa on Sunday, February 16. His first stop was in Senegal, where he met with President Macky Sall to discuss American troop presence in West Africa as part of counterterrorism operations, amid discussions in Washington by the Trump administration to potentially cut back on US troop numbers in Africa. Speaking to reporters in Dakar, Pompeo said the US will work with Senegal, France, and other West African countries to combat terrorism. Responding to Pompeo’s comments, foreign minister Amadou Ba said at a news conference that Senegal wants the US to remain present and continue providing training and intelligence to Senegalese security forces.
The next country on Pompeo’s itinerary is Angola, where he will meet with President João Lourenço, who is likely to request support in his anti-corruption efforts. Pompeo will then visit Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country and one of China’s largest trade partners on the continent. One reason for Pompeo’s trip is to rekindle African support for the United States as Russia and China continue to expand their influence on the continent.