The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has established a permanent presence in Africa with the deployment of a project engineer to Nigeria.
Engineer Adewale Adelakun (pictured) began setting up his office in November and is now fully in place, the US Army said.
Adelakun will initially support construction of facilities at Kainji Airbase for the fleet of 12 "A-29 Super Tucano" light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft that the Nigerian Air Force ordered from Brazil’s Embraer and US firm Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Until now, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) projects have been overseen by the army’s Europe District.
"To be there on the continent is a huge step forward in order to deliver high quality construction to our stakeholders," Adelakun said.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner, USACE North Atlantic Division Commander, said: "We recognise the growing significance our work in Africa has on achieving our national security goals. Having a permanent presence on the continent allows us to better leverage our capabilities to support AFRICOM’s and the State Department’s desired objectives by building partner capacity and sustaining host nation relationships."
Europe District Commander Col. Patrick Dagon said the move would facilitate "dozens of smaller military and humanitarian projects like schools, clinics, training ranges and more that we deliver to our partners on the continent".
The A-29 Super Tucano project consists of a $36.1m contract for the construction of a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, munitions assembly and storage, small arms storage, a flight annex wing building for simulator training, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar and entry control point enhancements.
Other initiatives including humanitarian assistance, foreign military sales, counter narcotics and trafficking and peacekeeping.
Current projects under construction include primary and secondary schools in Niger, Senegal, Benin and Togo and a boat ramp in Benin that will help authorities fight drug trafficking.
Dozens more projects are in the planning phase, the US Army said.
Image: Engineer Adewale Adelakun began setting up his office in November (US Army photo by Jennifer Aldridge/CC BY 2.0)Â