(Washington) United States Vice President Kamala Harris begins a three-nation African tour on Sunday to promote Washington’s positive vision of the continent as the “future of the world”.
Ms. Harris’ trip to Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia is the latest move to strengthen U.S. ties with the continent, largely ignored during former Republican President Donald Trump’s tenure. and long considered by Washington more as a problem region than a land of opportunity.
“We want to (eliminate) received and often dated ideas about what it means to live, work and invest in Africa,” a senior US official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Ms. Harris “believes that African innovation and ideas will shape the future of the world,” he added.
The trip is also part of Washington’s strategy to curb Beijing’s and Moscow’s growing presence in the resource-rich continent and push a more positive message from the United States, officials say. Americans.
“It is no (mystery) that we are engaged in a competition with China, very clearly, to compete with China in the long term,” a senior US official said.
Citing “real concerns” about Chinese loans allowing Beijing to increase its control over the continent’s fragile economies, the official stressed that Washington was not looking to replicate China’s methods.
“Our relationship with Africa cannot and should not be defined by competition with China,” he said, calling for a “positive agenda in Africa” based on transparency and partnerships between the public and the private.
Ms. Harris’s tour, which is due to land in Ghana on Sunday for the first leg of her trip, comes after other trips to Africa by members of President Joe Biden’s government as well as his wife Jill Biden.
This trip, which is to take the Vice-President to Tanzania on Wednesday, then to Zambia on Friday, takes on a particular dimension. Mrs. Harris is the first black person and the first woman to become Vice President of the United States. She had traveled to Zambia as a child, when her maternal grandmother, originally from India, worked there.
This trip will also allow him to strengthen his qualifications in foreign policy, ahead of a potential second candidacy of Mr. Biden in the presidential election of 2024, with Ms. Harris at his side.
The Vice President is due to meet Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan as well as President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia. Debt relief, democracy, economic growth, food security and the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will also be discussed.
The government of Joe Biden is aware of the “strategic importance” of African countries on global issues such as climate change, the resilience of supply chains, as well as as “actors” within the UN .
Youth is one of the main themes of Ms. Harris’ trip, as the average age is just 19 on this rapidly growing continent, where it is estimated that one in four people on earth will live in poverty. 2050.
In Ghana, the vice-president is due to deliver an “important speech” to the youth and visit a former hub of the slave trade, the Cape Coast fort (south). There will also be meetings with tech entrepreneurs, digital leaders and groups promoting the place of women in the economy.
Ms. Harris will also lay a wreath to commemorate the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.