LAGOS; Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is to meet President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, the first African leader to be received by Trump’s White House administration.
All eyes will be on Trump after he earlier called African nations “shithole” countries, a damaging remark he has since denied.
Trump’s relationship with the continent suffered a further setback in March when former secretary of state Rex Tillerson was fired while in Nigeria on his first trip to the continent.
As a result, the visit revealed little about Trump’s Africa policy.
Buhari’s visit comes after Trump met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and French President Emmanuel Macron last week to discuss the contentious Iran nuclear deal and biting trade sanctions.
According to a White House statement, the talks will focus on fighting terrorism and insecurity, economic growth and democratic development in Nigeria, set to hold presidential polls in February next year.
Nigeria is entering its ninth year fighting Boko Haram extremists, who have devastated the northeast of the country and killed over 20,000 people in a bloody quest to establish an Islamist state.
Buhari is also battling a so-called herdsmen crisis, a sectarian conflict hardening along religious lines that has claimed scores of lives this year in escalating violence.
“I think both sides have a clear agenda in this meeting and it’s security and economic issues. They both have something to gain,” J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told AFP.
“On President Buhari’s side, it’s having the prominence of being the first African leader received at the White House in this administration.”—AFP