U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Niger and Ethiopia as part of the Biden administration’s growing competition with China and Russia for influence across Africa. Niger has become a critical U.S. ally in the Sahel region, and the U.S. opened a new drone base in the city of Agadez in 2019. The U.S. has about 800 military personnel in Niger, and Blinken’s trip marks the first visit to the country by a U.S. secretary of state. “Niger is one of the last strongholds of U.S. security partnerships in the region,” says Stephanie Savell, co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University, who has researched U.S. militarism in West Africa and beyond. We also speak with writer and activist Coumba Toure, chair of the board for TrustAfrica and an ambassador for Africans Rising for Unity, Justice, Peace and Dignity. “Africa needs to be looked at as a continent where there are human beings, not just for power games and for exploitation,” says Toure.
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