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Tillerson did announce Tuesday $533 million in "additional humanitarian assistance" to help with starvation and conflict-related needs in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, but it was unclear whether all of those funds were new. The visit could also indicate the direction of the Trump administration in Africa.

The U.S Secretary of state, Mr. Rex Tillerson, who said this ahead of his coming visit to Africa, said Nigeria's 2019 general election is a major priority for the U.S because the country would be the "third most populous country in the world by 2050".

His itinerary includes a meeting with the leadership of the African Union Commission, which is based in Addis Ababa.

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President Donald Trump's description of "shithole countries" in January was greeted with a mix of horror and outrage in Africa, where many don't know what to think about the US president - or what he thinks of them.

"The United States pursues developed, sustainable growth that bolsters institutions, strengthens rule of law and builds the capacity of African countries to stand on their own two feet", said Tillerson. The trip would begin on Tuesday, March 6, the officials said. "When do we get to see the outlines of what the Trump Africa policy is?" The main agenda for countries like Nigeria and Chad would be forging a partnership to work to defeat terrorism and address the root causes of violent extremism.

He outlined the themes of his trip: counterterrorism, democracy, governance, trade and investment.

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Tillerson said the USA administration wants to step up ties with African nations, and announced humanitarian aid worth more than 533 million dollars for Ethiopia, Somalia and others.

Tillerson also lauded the progress Africa, as a continent, has made with democracy. "Democracy requires the inclusive, peaceful participation of a nation's citizens in the political process", he said. The government reacted aggressively when opposition leader Raila Odinga held a mock inauguration, shutting down TV stations and arresting opposition politicians, but the US has largely voiced support for Kenyatta.

Earlier this month, on February 17, the USA embassy in Addis Ababa released a statement saying the U.S. "strongly disagrees" with the state of emergency imposed by Ethiopia on February 16.

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