At the end of March, Vice President Kamala Harris will spend a week in Africa as the United States expands its outreach to the continent in the face of global competition, particularly from China.
Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that the trip will strengthen U.S. partnerships across Africa and advance our joint efforts to promote security and economic prosperity.
Harris’s plans follow visits from the first lady, Jill Biden, and the secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen. This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Africa, and President Joe Biden is expected to visit the continent later this year.
As the first Black vice president in U.S. history and the first woman to hold the position, Harris will be closely observed.
She intends to be in Ghana from March 26 to March 29, followed by Tanzania from March 29 to March 31. Her last destination will be Zambia on March 31 and April 1.
The third country on Harris’ itinerary has a personal significance for her. Her maternal grandfather once worked in Zambia, where she visited him when she was a child.
Allen stated that the vice president’s agenda will include the promotion of democracy, climate adaptation, economic empowerment of women, and food security.
Allen stated that in addition to meeting the presidents of the three countries she is visiting, Harris plans to speak with “young leaders, business representatives, entrepreneurs, and members of the African Diaspora.”
The December summit between U.S. and African leaders marked the beginning of the White House’s concerted outreach to the continent. China has made substantial investments in Africa, but Washington positions itself as a superior partner to Beijing.
During the summit, Harris stated, “Our administration will be guided not by what we can do for Africa, but by what we can do with Africa.”
Although competition between the U.S. and China has been the backdrop of much American foreign policy, the Democratic administration is attempting to calibrate its approach to Africa so African leaders do not feel caught in the middle of a geopolitical struggle.
A senior administration official emphasised that the White House intends to advance a “positive agenda” that incorporates concerns about China and the repercussions of Russia’s war in Ukraine without being dominated by them.