WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden headed for Africa on Tuesday, first stop Namibia, declaring as she departed Washington that she had “a lot to accomplish” during a five-day visit focused on empowering women and young people and addressing food insecurity.
The first lady’s visit to Namibia and Kenya is part of a push by the United States to step up engagement with Africa as a counterweight to China’s influence on the continent.
Biden, who teaches English and writing at a community college, said she dashed home from class with only an hour to spare before she needed to depart on the trip. She headed out a day before her husband gets back from his surprise trip to Ukraine and a scheduled visit to Poland.
“This whole trip will be exciting and we have a lot to accomplish,” she said.
Granddaughter Naomi Biden is accompanying the first lady on the trip.
President Joe Biden told African leaders who came to Washington for a summit last year that the U.S. is “all in” on the continent’s future and announced that he, his wife, the vice president and several members of his Cabinet would travel to Africa this year. He joked that the leaders would get tired of hosting everyone.