United States President Donald Trump says he is deeply disturbed by the on-going violence in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He was speaking at a luncheon hosted for African leaders on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

President Trump called on petroleum company Sasol to continue investing in the United States, in addition to some eyebrow-raising off the cuff remarks about Africa’s business potential.

It was an opportunity to interact with African leadership, with 16 heads of state including President Jacob Zuma in attendance, and predictably the conversation turned to the hotspots that undermine the continent’s collective progress.

Trump said: “We are closely monitoring and deeply disturbed by the on-going violence in South Sudan and in the Congo. Millions of lives are at risk and we continue to provide humanitarian assistance but real results in halting this catastrophe will require an African led peace process and a sincere really sincere commitment of all parties involved. And I know you’re working on that and you’re working on that very hard to assist in these efforts. I’m sending Ambassador Nikki Haley to Africa to discuss avenues of conflict and resolution and most importantly prevention.”

This was by far the most significant engagement that President Trump has had with Africa’s leaders since taking office in January; an opportunity to talk about the fight against terrorism and the continent’s business opportunities.

“Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money. But it does, it has a tremendous business potential and representing huge amounts of different markets. And for American firms it’s really become a place that they have to go that they want to go.”

With his America First policy front and centre, President Trump called on a particular Secunda-based petroleum company to invest more in the United States.

“We also hope that African firms like the company Sasol consider making investments in the United States. Sasol, as an example, is building a $9 billion petrochemical plant in Louisiana, which will bring new jobs to the state and, really, hardworking Americans will be manning those jobs.”

Trump added that he hoped to extend economic partnerships with countries committed to self–reliance and fostering job creation both in Africa and the United States.

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– By Sherwin Bryce-Pease