Tillerson's Africa trip a damage-control mission for Trump

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"Tillerson, who leaves for the tour on Tuesday, will visit Chad, Djbouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria, as well as meet with the African Union Commission..."

In his speech on Tuesday at George Mason University, Mr Tillerson said the United States has "a longstanding partnership with Kenya".

This is a breaking news to be updated shortly. 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.

Tillerson said the United States administration wants to step up ties with African nations, and announced humanitarian aid worth more than 533 million dollars for Ethiopia, Somalia and others. He said its investment had the potential to improve Africa's infrastructure, but added that its approach had led to mounting debt while creating few jobs.

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Tillerson said: "today I'm announcing $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance to fight starvation and food insecurity and address other needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Lake Chad Basin".

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Tillerson will also visit Kenya, where the political system is in turmoil over disputes related to President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election.

The US would do more to reduce trade and investment barriers for African partners, he said.

The trip comes as the Trump administration reverses course - again - on whether to let Americans import the body parts of African elephants shot for recreation.

About $184 million is for affected populations from South Sudan and more than $110 million for affected populations from Ethiopia. Another $110 million was earmarked for Ethiopia to help amid a drought, with the remaining $128 million helping Nigeria and the Lake Chad region nations.

His announcement of more humanitarian assistance for several countries threatened by starvation will be welcomed, but Tillerson works for a president who has repeatedly spoken of reducing America's burdens overseas.