By Stephanie Busari*
(CNN)President Donald Trump has been increasingly chatting with other world leaders during his first weeks in office. On Monday he turned his attention to Africa.
Trump spent Monday morning calling two of the continent’s most prominent leaders, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma, to discuss combating terrorism, trade relations and other issues.
According to Buhari’s aide, Femi Adesina, Trump assured the Nigerian president that the US is ready to help obtain “a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism.”
In a statement to CNN, Adesina also said, “President Trump encouraged President Buhari to keep up the good work he is doing, and also commended him for the efforts made in rescuing 24 of the Chibok Girls and the strides being taken by the Nigerian military.”
In 2014 nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok by terror group Boko Haram. Most remain missing, although the terror group released a group of them last October in a deal brokered in part by Nigerian authorities.
Trump also invited President Buhari to Washington at a mutually convenient date. Buhari, who congratulated Trump on his election, is currently in London on an extended break while he awaits the results of unspecified medical tests.
After his call with Buhari, President Trump also requested and completed a phone call with South Africa’s Zuma.
According to a statement from Zuma’s office, “The two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the already strong bilateral relations between the two countries. There are six hundred US companies in South Africa and strong trade relations between the two countries.”
Trump and Zuma also “discussed the need to work together on multilateral issues as well especially the quest for peace and stability on the African continent,” the statement said.
Trump, who so far has been mostly focused on his “America First” agenda, has not spoken at much length about his policies concerning Africa. But his controversial travel ban, one of his first major executive orders, has targeted three African countries: Sudan, Libya and Somalia.