• On Tuesday, in a joint press conference with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew, Pompeo announced that the United States will provide $8 million to go towards controlling the desert locusts.
  • Pompeo is in Ethiopia after making stops in Senegal and Angola in a trip widely believed to be an attempt to counter Chinese influence on the continent.
  • While in Angola, where the U.S Secretary of State met with President Joao Lourenco, denounced corruption and touted American business.

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has come bearing ‘gifts’ for Africa as he continues his third leg of African tour.

On Tuesday, in a joint press conference with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew, Pompeo announced the United States government will provide $8 million (Sh800 million) in funding towards control of the locust infestation in three Eastern Africa countries.

“The United States is providing $8M in additional funding to support regional locust control operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,” said Pompeo.

The funds will go to Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Pompeo is in Ethiopia after making stops in Senegal and Angola in a trip widely believed to be an attempt to counter Chinese influence on the continent.

While in Angola, where the U.S Secretary of State met with President Joao Lourenco, denounced corruption and touted American business.

“Here in Angola, damage from corruption is pretty clear,” he told a group of businessmen following that meeting. “This reform agenda that the president put in place has to stick.”

Pompeo sentiments comes on the backdrop of Isabel dos Santos, reputedly the richest woman in Africa, is under fire and accused of dabbling in corruption and fraud.

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AFP

Back to Kenya, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has dismissed the threat of locusts saying the ravenous and cannibalistic insects.

“We’ve conducted an aerial surveillance and ascertained that the yellow locusts you see around are very old and are actually nearing the end of their lifespan,” he said.

“These old locusts pose no threat. I want you to understand the science of locusts. They’re about to hatch their eggs and so they’re just going to fly to where they’ll hatch,” the Cabinet Secretary who spoke in Karambari village, Mbeere North, in Embu indicated.

Locusts invade farms in Kenya
Locusts invade farms in Kenya

This is despite the national Treasury, which has allocated Sh230 million for the locust eradication campaign, terming the desert locusts as a “systemic risk” that is likely to prevent the economy from attaining its medium-term growth.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has also warned countries within East Africa to fasten their belts and brace for food shortage as a result of the invasion.

A map detailing areas affected by the desert locusts. (Twitter)
A map detailing areas affected by the desert locusts. (Twitter)

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the locust invasion in the horn of Africa is one of the worst in 25 years.

Early this month, while attending the ordinary session of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia UN Secretary-General António Guterres chided the international community and western countries for not doing enough to help the horn of Africa battle with the locust invasion and larger effects of climate change.

It is worth noting that even before the locust invasion, some 11 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya were already experiencing food insecurity, and the swarms will worsen the situation.

Kenya's Agriculture CS Peter Munya
Kenya's Agriculture CS Peter Munya