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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to hold discussions with President Kenyatta once he visits the country later this week.

It falls to Tillerson to mend the damage as he travels to the continent on Tuesday (March 6), becoming the most senior USA official to set foot there since Trump took office more than a year ago.

With the new funding from the State Department and US Agency for International Development, the country is providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to help vulnerable populations through food aid.

After more than a year in office, Trump has not nominated a chief USA diplomat for Africa, and embassies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Africa and in five other African countries remain without ambassadors.

Tillerson heads to the continent with the Trump administration advocating cuts of more than a third in aid to African countries and programmes, along with deep reductions to global health initiatives. Tillerson did announce Tuesday $533 million in "additional humanitarian assistance" to help with starvation and conflict-related needs in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, but it was unclear whether all of those funds were new. "When do we get to see the outlines of what the Trump Africa policy is?"

"Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most countries", Tillerson explained.

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Tillerson is the highest-ranking USA official to travel to Africa since President Donald Trump took office.

China is aggressively working to expand its regional influence, which is something of concern to USA lawmakers.

His announcement of more humanitarian assistance for several countries threatened by starvation will be welcomed, but Tillerson works for a president who has repeatedly spoken of reducing America's burdens overseas. The U.S. planned to direct $128 million to help with Nigeria and the Lake Chad region nations.

The U.S. lawmaker added China "is building military relationships and partnering with one-party states, often to the detriment of good governance, the rule of law, and the African people themselves".

Tillerson spoke about China's investment in the continent at a lecture at George Mason University on Tuesday.