03 Apr U.S Vice President Kamala Harris unveils billions in investment on Africa tour
U.S Vice President Kamala Harris unveils billions in investment on Africa tour
April 3rd, 2023
US Vice-President Kamala Harris heads to Africa to cement the Biden administration’s strategy to strengthen the US-Africa relationship and expand private sector investment. But what is Washington’s end-game on the continent? Kamala Harris started a weeklong trip to Africa on 26 March in a bid to ramp up US investment on the continent and counter the rising influence of Russia and China.
As she touched down at Kotoko International Airport in Accra, Ghana, greeted by a fanfare of drums and school children, she said the trip underscores “the very important relationship” between the US and Africa.
“On this trip I intend to do work that is focused on increasing investments here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity specifically in the areas of economic empowerment of women and girls, empowerment of youth entrepreneurship, digital inclusion, and to support the work that must be done to increase food security, including adaptation to the effects of the climate crisis.” As her visit to Ghana got underway on 27 March, the vice-president announced an investment of $100m in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo to help deal with the threat of violent extremism and instability.
As she concluded her week long visit she also announced $7bn in private sector and US government commitments to lift-up over 116 million farmers and promote climate-smart agriculture. “I am proud to have secured $7 billion in private sector commitments that will support climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation across the continent of Africa.”
Washington’s latest charm offensive is a continuation of US President Joe Biden’s strategy to reclaim its role as a major player in Africa, and as a counter to the growing influence of Russia and China, experts say.
“In international affairs we gauge the value of a partnership between countries, between regions, in the regularity of high-level exchanges,” says Gyude Moore, a senior policy fellow at the Washington DC-based Center for Global Development (CGD). Up until 2009, the United States was the continent’s largest trading partner, but since then it has been overtaken by Beijing, with two-way trade between the United States and Africa dwindling from $141bn in 2008 to $64bn in 2021.
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Written by Shoshana Kedem
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