ADDIS ABABA, March 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Ethiopia starting on Wednesday will most likely focus on mutual-interest issues and less on promoting human rights and democracy, an Ethiopian analyst said Tuesday.
According to the U.S. State Department, Tillerson's first official trip to Africa will start in Ethiopia before taking him to Chad, Djibouti, Kenya and Nigeria.
Abebe Aynete, Senior Researcher of the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies (EFRSS), said the trip will show the U.S. foreign policy orientation moving significantly to a more "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" approach from the traditional human rights and democracy promotion mantra.
He also said with Trump's purported vulgar comments on Africa in January still fresh in the mind of many Africans, the visit is likely to be lower key than past visits by high-ranking U.S. officials.
"While Tillerson and Trump who come from a business background see U.S. relations with the rest of the world as transactional, it's unclear whether it will show a clearer U.S. global diplomatic strategy," said Aynete.
Tillerson is expected to meet officials of the five countries as well as the leadership of the African Union Commission (AUC) based in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, in a bid to further the U.S. partnerships with the African continent.
On Monday, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto said Tillerson will meet AU officials to discuss issues including South Sudan, DR Congo, Somalia, and the G5 countries.
On Ethiopian issues, Yamamoto said "we're looking at not only the transition of a prime minister, but also the institution and the strengthening of institutions." He added that "We are also looking at the problems in Oromia and the Somali region, and we are looking at probably about a million people displaced."
Economic, security and human rights issues are also said to other issues for discussion during Tillerson's stay in Ethiopia.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, professor of public policy at Ethiopia's Addis Ababa University, expected Tillerson's visit to Ethiopia to focus on the U.S.-Ethiopia relations, the fight against terror, Ethiopia's large peacekeeping operations in Africa and its current political trouble.
As Ethiopia remains among the largest peacekeeping force providers in the African continent, the fight against terror in the region and throughout the continent would be an area of interest during Tillerson's visit to Ethiopia, said Costantinos.