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Pompeo promotes economic ties, takes aim at corruption in Africa visit

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Angolan officials to double down on their anti-corruption efforts in a speech Monday as part of a longer Africa tour.

Addressing a group of businessmen after meeting with President Joao Lourenco in the capital city of Luanda, Pompeo said the “damage from corruption is pretty clear” after the four-decade presidency of Lourenco’s predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

“This reform agenda that the president put in place has to stick,” Pompeo said, according to Reuters.

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The top U.S. diplomat also used the visit to promote American investment in Angola as an alternative to Chinese loans.

“We’ve got a group of energy companies that have put more than $2 billion in a natural gas project. That will rebound to the benefit of the American businesses for sure, but to the Angolan people for sure as well,” Pompeo reportedly said.

The Trump administration has accused China of predatory lending in the billions of dollars it has loaned African nations for infrastructure products in exchange for access to natural resources.

However, the administration’s appeals to African governments have been complicated by its expanded travel ban, which applies to nationals from Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea and Tanzania, as well as concerns in West Africa about a proposed U.S. troop reorganization as Islamist groups in the region advance.

“We have an obligation to get security right here, in the region. It’s what will permit economic growth, and we’re determined to do that,” Pompeo told reporters.

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