Vice President Kamala Harris was greeted by schoolchildren, dancers and drummers as she arrived Sunday in Ghana for the beginning of a weeklong go to to Africa meant to deepen U.S. relationships amid international competitors over the continent’s future.
“We’re trying ahead to this journey as an extra assertion of the lengthy and enduring crucial relationship and friendship between the folks of america and those that reside on this continent,” Harris stated.
The kids cheered and waved Ghanaian and American flags as she stepped off her airplane after an in a single day flight. She smiled broadly and positioned a hand on her coronary heart as she handed by the dancers.
“What an honor it’s to be right here in Ghana and on the continent of Africa,” Harris stated. “I’m very enthusiastic about the way forward for Africa.” She stated she needed to advertise financial development and meals safety and welcomed the possibility to “witness firsthand the extraordinary innovation and creativity that’s occurring on this continent.”
Ghana is likely one of the continent’s most steady democracies, however Harris is arriving at a time of extreme challenges for the West African nation. Its economic system, among the many quickest rising on this planet earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic, faces a debt disaster and hovering inflation that’s driving up the price of meals and different requirements.
A rustic of 34 million people who’s barely smaller than Oregon, Ghana can be cautious of threats from instability within the area. Burkina Faso and Mali have every endured two coups in recent times, and native offshoots of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group function within the space often called the Sahel, which is north of Ghana. 1000’s of individuals have been killed and tens of millions extra have been displaced.
The preventing has created a gap for the Russian mercenary outfit often called Wagner, which maintains a presence in Africa regardless of collaborating within the invasion of Ukraine as effectively. Mali welcomed Wagner after it pushed out French troops that had been primarily based there, and there are fears that Burkina Faso will do the identical.
The financial and safety challenges will seemingly be mentioned on Monday when Harris meets with Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo. In addition they are anticipated to carry a joint information convention.
The 2 leaders have met twice earlier than, each instances in Washington.
Throughout their first assembly, in September 2021, Akufo-Addo stated “our large problem — and it’s a problem of all those that wish to develop democratic establishments on our continent — is to make sure and reassure our people who democratic establishments generally is a automobile for the decision of their large drawback — that’s financial growth because the means to eradicate poverty on the continent.”
Harris is the highest-profile member of President Joe Biden’s administration to go to Africa this yr. After Ghana, she plans to go to Tanzania and Zambia. She returns to Washington on April 2.
The expanded outreach is meant to counter China’s affect, which has change into entrenched in recent times by means of infrastructure initiatives, lending cash and increasing telecommunications networks. Ghana, for instance, reached a $2 billion cope with a Chinese language firm to develop roads and different initiatives in return for entry to a key mineral for producing aluminum.
Most of Harris’ occasions in Ghana will concentrate on younger folks. Africa’s inhabitants has a median age of 19.
On Monday, she plans to go to a skate park and co-working house that has a recording studio for native artists. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, who’s accompanying her on the journey, will maintain a city corridor assembly with actors from an area tv present and attend a women basketball clinic.
Within the night, they may attend a state banquet with the Ghanaian president and first woman.
On Tuesday, Harris will give a speech and go to Cape Coast Citadel, the place enslaved Africans had been as soon as loaded on ships certain for the Americas.
Earlier than leaving for Tanzania on Wednesday, Harris will meet with ladies entrepreneurs and Emhoff will tour a chocolate firm that was based by two sisters. The identify of the corporate, ‘57 Chocolate, is a reference to when Ghana turned unbiased.
Cameron Hudson, an Africa professional on the Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research, stated Ghana has been “a vivid spot within the area” however “it’s going through some very stiff headwinds.”
He famous that the nation’s south, the place the capital of Accra is situated, is primarily Christian, whereas the northern space is generally Muslim, and there are fears that militants might broaden their operations there.
“These terrorist teams are in a position to prey on current fault traces inside these societies,” he stated.
Hudson stated Ghanaian authorities have intercepted weapons shipments and human smugglers. Typically there are bursts of violence, and the variety of incidents spiked final yr.
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