Opinion: Tillerson should not focus only on security during Africa trip

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson receives a cup of brewed coffee during a traditional coffee ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Story highlights

  • US trip to Africa is long overdue, says Dr. Brahima Sangafowa
  • Rex Tillerson should focus on "defense, diplomacy, and development," he says

Dr. Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington DC.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is on a trip to five countries in Africa -- Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria.

Since taking office last year, three of U.S. top officials -- President Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary Tillerson -- have visited all regions-- except Africa.
This overdue trip could signal that the administration may be prepared to engage with the continent, after a slow start.
    However, the specific deliverables of the trip, if any, remain unclear.
    Dr. Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly
    At the same time, this visit also provides an opportunity for the administration to reassure its African partners of its commitment to US-Africa cooperation, especially in light of the derogatory comments allegedly made by President Trump about the continent earlier in the year.