US Vice President Kamala Harris said on Sunday that the US will increase investment in Africa and assist stimulate economic growth as she launched a week-long visit to the continent aimed at countering rival China’s influence.
In recent decades, China has made significant investments in Africa, especially in infrastructure and resource development, while Russian influence has expanded, including through the deployment of troops from Russia’s private military contractor Wagner Group to assist governments in various nations.
“On this trip I intend to do work that is focused on increasing investments here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity,” Harris said shortly after touching down in Ghana, the first destination in a trip that will include visits to Tanzania and Zambia.
President Joe Biden’s administration has pushed to improve ties with Africa, in part to provide an option to competing powers.
The United States promised $55 billion to Africa over the next three years in December, ahead of a US-Africa summit. During a visit to Niger this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $150 million in fresh humanitarian aid for Africa’s Sahel area.
Biden is yet to visit Africa as president.
Harris will also discuss China’s involvement in technological and economic concerns in Africa that affect the US, as well as China’s involvement in debt restructuring, according to top US officials last week.
This week, Harris will meet Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and visit a former slave fortress where slaves were brought to America during the slave trade era.
Harris will be in Ghana from March 26-29, then in Tanzania from March 29-31. Her final stop is Zambia, on March 31 and April 1. She will meet with the three countries’ presidents and plans to announce public- and private-sector investments.