The US Secretary of State appreciated the cooperation between his country and Kenya on security in Somalia and South Sudan, saying the US stood ready to offer additional assistance whenever called upon to do so. Trump allegedly made the comment about African nations and Haiti during a meeting on USA immigration legislation in January.
Analysts say the USA policy towards Africa has strings attached, while China has not placed any such conditions.
"Our message is for countries to consider what the terms of those agreements are and not forfeit any elements of sovereignty", he added.
Mahamat, on Tillerson's remarks about China's roles in Africa, said the African continent had many partnerships. "And oftentimes, the financing models are structured in a way that the country, when it gets into trouble financially, loses control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default", he stressed. He did not give examples. "But also remember that the Djibouti base is as much about being a platform for the Gulf where China is preparing to take a much larger role as the USA seems to be reducing its commitments - though not its force size and structure".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, visiting Zimbabwe on Thursday, told reporters it was inappropriate for Tillerson to criticize China's relationship with African countries.
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In response to the 15,000 Haitian immigrants who had arrived in the country, Trump reportedly said they "all have AIDS". Chinese influence does not however take away the historical ties between Washington and African capitals.
Trump's latest budget proposal in February slashed spending for Africa by 37%, down $3.1 billion from current levels.
The slur was greeted with a mix of horror and outrage on a continent where many dont know what to think about the US president, or what he thinks of them.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang was responding to Tillerson's remarks that China's approach to development in Africa "encourages dependency" that undermines sovereignty and puts stability at risk.
Tillerson's Africa visit includes Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
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Ethiopia is home to some of Beijing's biggest investments, from a railway to Djibouti that opened past year to factories and industrial parks.
The former Exxon chief executive said China used corruption and predatory loan practices to undermine African governments and mire them in debt.
Ethiopia's prime minister resigned suddenly last month and a state of emergency was imposed but protests in the restive Oromia region have continued. His top African diplomat, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Donald Yamamoto, cast the trip in broad terms. Details of their discussions were not released.
"They don't bring significant training programs that enable African citizens to participate more broadly in the future", Secretary Tillerson said this morning at a press conference that followed his meeting with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki.
The emergency rule was aimed at restoring peace and security in the country.
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In a symbolic display of that connection, the African Union headquarters where Tillerson and Faki met was built by China; there is a plaque inside the building that notes senior official Jia Qinglin attended the opening ceremony in 2012.