As part of an African tour, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Niger today in a bid to counter Russian influence in Africa.
With this visit, Mr. Blinken will be the first senior American diplomat to visit Niamey, a key military base for the West in the fight against jihadism.
During his visit, Blinken is expected to express US support for Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries.
Blinken has previously visited Ethiopia where he underlined US President Joe Biden’s commitment to be “all in for Africa with Africa”, and “building deep, responsive, and genuine partnerships on the continent”.
Niger has since become a key ally of French military efforts in West Africa. For example, the US has also built and operated Air Base 201, which is used to fly drones to attack and monitor jihadists.
After a succession of coups, Niger has become a democracy again since 2011, and the US administration hopes to consolidate these gains.
Moreover, the action of President Mohamed Bazoum has been welcomed in Washington, particularly during a summit of African leaders organized by Joe Biden in December.