Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off African Tour As Admin Seeks To Strengthen Relations

The Vice President’s diplomatic skills will be under scrutiny as she works to rebuild ties within and throughout the continent.

Vice President Kamala Harris began a weeklong tour of Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia on Monday, the first visit by a high-ranking Biden administration official to the continent. Harris is expected to meet with the leaders of each country to discuss a range of issues, including trade, investment, and security. The trip is to further support the mission of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States (PAC-ADE), which was created in December 2022. The creation of this council saw President Biden announce a $55 billion commitment to the continent over the next three years.

The trip comes at a time when the Biden administration is seeking to re-engage with Africa after years of being overlooked by U.S. officials. The Trump administration largely ignored the continent, and many African leaders were frustrated by what they saw to be a lack of attention.

Harris's visit is seen as a sign that the Biden administration is committed to Africa and that it wants to build strong partnerships with countries there. Considering recent history, the Vice President will need to work to build trust and cooperation with African leaders. It was in 2018 that then-president Donald Trump famously insulted African and other nations as being ****-hole countries. Trump later denied using the slur.

The trip is a major opportunity for the Vice President to showcase her skills as a diplomat and to build relationships with African leaders. It is also a chance for the Biden administration to show that it is committed to Africa and that it wants to work with countries there to solve common problems.

Harris is also expected to address issues such as democracy and human rights during her trip. Despite longstanding laws and customs, the Biden administration has made it clear that it will not tolerate anti-LGBTQ laws or other forms of discrimination in Africa, such as legislation recently passed in Uganda against gay people. Harris is expected to meet with activists and community leaders to discuss these issues.

The continent is home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with GDP growth rates expected to average 3.8% in 2023 according to the World Bank's Africa's Economic Outlook: April 2022 report. However, the continent faces a number of challenges, including high levels of poverty and inequality, political instability, and the impact of climate change. Economic concerns, and how to engage with the continent in ways that are not exploitative are key considerations during this visit.

"President Biden and I have made clear the United States is strengthening our partnerships across the continent of Africa," Harris said during a news conference with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Harris's Goals for Africa

Vice President Kamala Harris has set a number of goals for her trip to Africa, including promoting trade and investment between the United States and Africa; investing in African infrastructure and development; strengthening security cooperation between the United States and Africa, and promoting democracy and human rights in Africa.

She has also said she wants to address the challenges of climate change and COVID-19 on the continent.

Harris has said that she believes that the United States and Africa can work together to solve common problems and to create a better future for both regions. She has also said that she is committed to using her position as vice president to advocate for the interests of Africa.

Harris's Challenges

Harris faces a number of challenges on her trip to Africa, including: the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on Africa; the economic crisis in Africa, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic; the political instability in some African countries and the rise of Chinese influence on the African continent.

Harris announced $100 million in additional funding for Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo to assist these countries in addressing security, governance, and development concerns . White House officials said that Harris' travel and conversations would center on democracy, climate change, security, the economy, and the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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