By Victor Asije
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said on Monday that his government has supported the training of over 27,000 African peacekeepers for the UN and African Union (AU) missions in 2017.
Tillerson said that the U.S. had this year supported 20 African nations in training their peacekeepers for both continental and international organisations.
“The United States, as the largest peacekeeping capacity-building contributor, is also helping over 20 African countries to train, deploy, and sustain their peacekeepers.
“This year, such efforts have already supported the training of more than 27,000 African peacekeepers for the UN and AU missions,’’ he said.
The secretary of state also said that it was his government’s aim to expand its relationship with Africa in the areas of trade and investment, good governance and countering terrorism.
Tillerson also said that the U.S. looked forward to a sustained partnership to addressing Africa’s low level of literacy, shortage of teachers, as well as increase their access to education.
“We encourage our African counterparts to address these many governance challenges, and in doing so, unlock your country’s development potential.
“We look forward to discussing today specific ways to strengthen democracy and promote better governance over our lunch discussions.
“We are particularly grateful for the work of African countries to expand multinational and regional cooperation to counter terrorism.
“The United States is committed to partnering with you to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups across your continent,’’ he said.
The United States has the largest defence budget and the most technologically advanced military in the world.
It possesses every military capability the UN might need, including prized enablers such as strategic air and sea lift, aviation, land, and naval transport, medical, engineering, logistics, planning and intelligence gathering/processing, as well as special forces.
The Global Peace Operations Initiative provides training and equipment to other international peacekeepers.
The Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), part of the US Army War College, develops and reviews doctrine and training, and advises the military in developing the requirements and capabilities to plan, prepare, and execute “peace and stability operations.