Trump’s Phone Call with Nigeria’s President Buhari and President Zuma of South AFrica.
United States President, Donald had through a telephone conversation reached out to two African leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Both men, presiding over the continent’s largest economies, have faced public dissent in the past week. Across major cities in Nigeria, protests were held decrying difficult living conditions amid Nigeria’s economic recession. Jacob Zuma, on the other hand, saw his State of the Nation speech delayed and disrupted by opposition members of parliament who repeated long-running allegations of corruption against Zuma.
Trump, who spoke with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi back in November, has shown little to no interest in Africa as a candidate over the last year or in the first few weeks of his presidency till now.
According to WhiteHouse press release on the President Trump’s call to Buhari;
President Donald J. Trump spoke this week with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to discuss the strong cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance priorities. President Trump underscored the importance the United States places on its relationship with Nigeria, and he expressed interest in working with President Buhari to expand the strong partnership. The leaders agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and worldwide. President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram. President Trump thanked President Buhari for the leadership he has exercised in the region and emphasized the importance of a strong, secure, and prosperous Nigeria that continues to lead in the region and in international forums.
It will be recalled that under the Obama administration, the US refused to sell weapons to Nigeria to aid its fight against Boko Haram. Much of the US’ refusal was down to damning reports of human rights abuse by Nigeria’s military including arbitrary arrests, detention and killing of civilians (an Amnesty International report (pdf) released in June 2015, pegged the number of civilians who have died in military detention at 7,000).
Trump’s call to South Africa’s Jacob Zuma however focused on trade between the US and South Africa. According to WhiteHouse press release on the President Trump’s call to Zuma;
President Donald J. Trump spoke this week with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to discuss ways to expand cooperation and trade between the United States and South Africa. President Trump highlighted the strong bilateral trade ties between the two countries and expressed interest in identifying new, mutually beneficial opportunities for trade. President Trump also suggested that the United States and South Africa do more to collaborate on shared security interests, including the fight against terrorism. Both leaders agreed to continue dialogue on these priorities and find ways to deepen the bilateral partnership.