Kamala Harris tours three African nations to promote investment and empowerment

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  • Published on March 27, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In Culture

Vice President Harris left Saturday for a week in Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia. She will visit Africa as the highest-ranking Biden cabinet member.

On Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Ghana’s capital city of Accra to begin a week-long trip to Africa, in which she will also visit Tanzania and Zambia. She is expected to meet with the presidents of the three countries to discuss regional issues and strengthen the relationship between the United States and Africa.

Harris took part in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December in Washington, D.C., which discussed the economic crisis, food security, and climate change. These issues and others will be further discussed during her trip.

This is Harris’ first official trip to Africa as vice president. She and second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, flew into Accra on Sunday in Air Force Two and were met by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia. As the highest-ranking member of the Biden cabinet, her visit to the nation is unprecedented.

A large group of kids assembled out to the side of the stage where she made brief remarks. Dancers and drummers performed as she walked down a red carpet and she was presented with a bouquet of flowers as part of her welcome, according to ABC News.

“What an honor it is to be here in Ghana and on the continent of Africa,” Harris said on the tarmac of Kotoka International Airport.

During her speech, Harris spoke to a future in which the population, with a current median age of 19, would help put African nations at the center of international relations. “I’m very excited about the impact of Africa on the rest of the world,” she added.

In light of the growing threats posed by climate change, Harris noted her goals to promote “increasing investments,” the “economic empowerment” of women, girls, and young entrepreneurs, “digital inclusion,” and food security while on her trip.

She said she plans to observe some of the innovation and creativity that is “inspiring the world,” as well as address democracy and government alongside several leaders. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, and again I’m so very excited to be here,” she exclaimed.

Harris will be attending a dinner at Accra’s Jubilee House on March 27 in honor of President Akufo-Addo. She is scheduled to make a major policy announcement the following morning at Black Star Square, according to Travel Noire.

On Wednesday she will arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and on Friday she will fly to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, where she will meet with President Hakainde Hichilema.

Despite growing competition from China and their influence on the continent, countries in Africa have established trade and other ties with Beijing, and now Harris is carrying on the Biden administration’s outreach to African countries.

On a call with reporters on Thursday night, senior administration officials gave an inside look at the vice president’s agenda, saying that she will be urging world leaders to “expand their options” rather than “choose” between the United States and China.

“We can’t ignore the current geopolitical moment. It’s no secret that we are engaged in competition with China. And we’ve said very clearly we intend to out-compete China in the long term,” the government officials said.

Tanzania values its ties with China, as evidenced by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s decision to meet President Xi Jinping in Beijing during his first state visit outside of Africa in November. During their meeting, ABC notes that the two leaders discussed areas of cooperation including infrastructure and trade in agriculture.

In Ghana and Zambia, Harris’ trip will feature two noteworthy moments. According to administration officials, Harris will give a speech on the “brutality of slavery and the African diaspora” while touring Cape Coast Castle, a former slave-trade outpost and home of the infamous “Door of No Return,” on Monday.

Furthermore, Harris’ stay in Zambia will be especially significant because it will be her first visit to the country since she was a child. Her maternal grandfather, a civil servant in India, spent several years in the Zambian government working on refugee resettlement issues, so she made the trip there in the 1960s to visit him.