Embattled Vice President Kamala Harris told an audience in Ghana Sunday that the United States will increase investment in the African continent to encourage economic development.
Her weeklong tour is intended to increase US influence and counter the rise of Chinese diplomatic overtures to African nations. Beijing’s presence has grown in recent years in areas such as infrastructure and resource development.
Russia has also increased its footprint, particularly with Moscow’s private military contractor Wagner Group working with several African nations.
Upon arrival in Ghana, Harris was greeted by Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia. She declared her intentions for “increasing investments here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity.”
The vice president was also met with flowers, dancers, drummers, and a gathering of children as she walked down a red carpet.
Harris said, “I’m very excited about the impact of Africa on the rest of the world.” She noted that the continent’s current median age is 19, meaning its population will be in the midst of future international relations.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 26, 2023
Of course, no Biden administration visit is official until climate change is mentioned, and Harris wasted no time. She told the assembly that her goal is stronger investments and “economic empowerment” of women, girls, and young businesspeople.
She added that food security is also a concern due to challenges posed by climate change.
Harris noted that she will discuss democracy and government as she meets with several African leaders. She also pledged to spend time observing the innovation and creativity that is “inspiring the world.”
It was December when the Biden administration pledged $55 billion over three years to aid the continent. There was another $150 million pledged when Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Niger earlier in March. Biden has not visited Africa during his presidency.
Harris’ itinerary includes a meeting with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo this week. She will make a side trip to a former slave castle from which slaves were sent to the Western Hemisphere during the slave trade era.
From Ghana she will proceed to Tanzania and then Zambia. Harris is expected to make multiple announcements on public-private sector investments in the countries before her return to the U.S.