Senegal signed construction deals worth US$1 billion with U.S. companies, including for a highway linking the capital Dakar to Saint-Louis, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The money would also be spent on bridges, improving trade corridors with neighboring countries, and a nationwide communications network for emergency services, according to a note handed to reporters in Dakar on Saturday. Among the U.S. companies involved are Bechtel Corp. and Cubic Transportation Systems.
Blinken arrived in Senegal on Friday, following stops in Kenya and Nigeria during his first official visit to Africa. President Joe Biden’s top envoy has signaled the U.S.’s intent to revitalize its long-neglected relations with Africa, where it has steadily been losing influence to China and other global powers.
Africa has always been near the bottom of the U.S. foreign-relations priority list, with the world’s poorest continent accounting for less than 2% of its total two-way trade. Relations reached a low ebb during President Donald Trump’s tenure, during which he made disparaging remarks about African countries and high-level diplomatic engagements were few and far between.