Top Stories / National
Friday, 17 Mar 2017 19:00 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
CORD leader Raila Odinga has finished his engagements in the United States with a visit to two Republican-leaning institutions whose officials have been linked to possible appointments to the U.S. government policy making roles on Africa. Mr Odinga and associates accompanying him on the week-long visit to the U.S held talks with officials at the International Republican Institute and The Atlantic Council among other engagements.
Details of the former prime minister's discussions with the officials have not been made public, but a source in his entourage intimated to this website that he offered recommendations for the U.S. government under new president Dolald J Trump to pay close attention to problems around democratisation on the continent.
Mr Odinga took particular emphasis on the visit at The Atlantic Council, according to his associates, given the high chance that the Council's vice president and Africa programme director Dr J. Peter Pham could be appointed by Trump as the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the State Department in the near future.
An expert on international security, Dr Pham's research has paid special attention to Africa as a whole, and his research topics include piracy, weapons trafficking and violent extremism. He is also recognised as one of the leading specialists in the United States on Somalia.
Among Africa watchers, Dr Pham's odds to replace the current office holder Linda Thomas-Greenfield improved tremendously early this month when The Atlantic Council's Africa Centre that he leads hosted a public address by Ms Thomas-Greenfield on the future of US and global relations with Africa. The meeting came just days before Ms Thomas-Greenfield was due to leave office upon her retirement.
Ms Thomas-Greenfield noted five key, and inter-related, challenges for the continent in the coming decades: the youth bulge; boosting and sustaining economic growth; supporting democratic governance; ensuring security; and meeting ongoing humanitarian needs. She underlined the importance of a strong US-Africa relationship to tackle the problems of the future while securing progress of the past, according to a report on the meeting on The Atlantic Council,s website.
Incidentally, the former PM's meeting with the Republicans came barely two weeks since Mombasa governor Hassan Joho also met with top officials at the U.S. Department of State that handles U.S. foreign policy, as well as others at the Department of Homeland Security. The governor held talks with Eric P. Whitaker, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, the most senior ranked official in the Africa bureau following the retirement of Ms Thomas-Greenfield.