Blinken visits tech, cultural and medical spaces in Nigeria

US Secretary of State says US hopes to build '21st century partnership' with Africa's largest economy

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the opening of the American Corner Lekki, a partnership between 21st Centuries Technologies and the US government, in Nigeria on January 24. Willy Lowry / The National
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday highlighted Washington’s support across several sectors while in Lagos, Nigeria.

Mr Blinken, who is on a four-country tour of West Africa trying to promote US initiatives and investments across the region, spent the morning touring a digital technology centre in the sprawling Nigerian metropolis, where the US has linked up in a community space for local tech entrepreneurs.

He met young Nigerians who had developed software and apps in the education, medical and sales industries.

Mr Blinken said the US was looking to build a “21st century partnership” with Nigeria.

“I see this playing out in so many places now as we work together to meet shared challenges that no single one of us can effectively meet alone," he said.

"And the bottom line, to actually deliver results to our people, because those of us who have spent some period of time in public office, that’s our responsibility."

This is Mr Blinken’s fourth trip to Africa since becoming Secretary of State and his second trip to Nigeria as he tries to counter Chinese and Russian influence on the continent.

“There is growing and significant American interest here in working in Nigeria, in investing in Nigeria, partnering with Nigerians,” he said.

Last year, China announced that it would increase investments in Nigeria’s digital economy as the two countries jostle for Africa’s largest economy.

Mr Blinken also highlighted US support of medical research.

“One of the very powerful things about what we do working with others is to transfer knowledge and ask for expertise,” he said while visiting the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.

“And ultimately, that leads to friends and partners developing their own strong capacity to do things for themselves.”

Mr Blinken next heads to Angola, where he is expected to highlight the Lobito project, a joint effort with the EU and regional partners to develop a rail corridor connecting Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Updated: January 24, 2024, 9:44 PM