A senior official of the US Agency for International Development (USAid) is scheduled to visit Kenya this week in one of the first high-level, direct contacts between Washington and Nairobi since President Trump’s inauguration in January.
While in Nairobi, USAid counsellor Thomas Staal will review humanitarian activities in East Africa and meet with Kenyan officials to “discuss US efforts to counter violent extremism,” the State Department said.
Mr Staal began his visit to the region on April 1 with a stop in Ethiopia, where he was expected to “promote ’Power Africa,’ an initiative to improve access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa,” the State Department said.
Talks on the $9.7 billion Obama administration initiative may signal willingness on the part of the Trump team to continue efforts to leverage US private-sector investment in electrification projects in Kenya and five other sub-Saharan countries.
Power Africa aims to enable 60 million new electricity connections.
President Trump has yet to specify his approach to Power Africa.
In Ethiopia, Mr Staal was also expected to hold talks on USAid’s response to the East African drought.
After his visit to Kenya, Mr Staal is scheduled to travel to South Sudan to discuss responses to the famine affecting parts of that country.
Mr Staal is a veteran USAid official, having worked for the agency since 1988 in a number of capacities.
Prior to becoming USAid counsellor, he served as the agency’s senior faculty member at the National War College.