People & Money

US Vice President Kamala Harris to Make a Weeklong Visit to Africa

Less than a month after Anthony Blinken’s visit to Niger Republic, another high-profile US government official is set to visit Africa. The US Vice President, Kamala Harris is expected to kickstart a week-long visit to Africa starting with Ghana on the 26th of March. It is anticipated that she will travel to Ghana between the 26th and 29th of March, followed by Tanzania from the 29th to the 31st of March, and conclude her journey in Zambia on the 31st of March and the 1st of April.

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In line with the agenda of Blinken’s visit, the visit is targeted towards pitching the US as a better partner than China. According to senior US officials, Harris is set to address the United States’ concerns regarding China’s role in technology and economic matters in Africa, and also delve into China’s participation in debt restructuring efforts. As per China, a senior official noted to Reuters, “We’re not asking our partners in Africa to choose.” However, he noted that the US has “real concerns about some of China’s behavior in Africa.”

During the visit, Harris is expected to meet with the Presidents of the three countries and announce plans for private and public sector investments. The senior official also noted that VP Harris is expected to discuss the most effective methods for the global community to tackle the debt issues confronting Ghana and Zambia.

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During the trip, Zambia is a significant point of focus since it became the initial African nation to default on its national debt during the COVID-19 crisis and is currently collaborating with its creditors, including China, to negotiate a settlement. Notably, Kamala Harris has a personal tie to Zambia, as her maternal grandfather worked in the country, and she visited him during her childhood.

During the US-Africa Leaders Summit in December last year, Joe Biden and the Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema reignited their “bromance” during one of the side events. After the summit, the US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen visited the country during her African tour in January 2023. Kamala Harris’ visit will mark the second time a high-ranking US government official has traveled to Zambia in 2023.

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Apart from Zambia, Ghana is also facing a debt challenge that involves Chinese debt. Recently, the Ghanaian Finance Minister took a trip to Beijing to initiate debt talks with officials of the Chinese government. And during the trip, he met with the Chinese Vice Commerce Minister. Ghana’s association with China is concerning for the US, given that Ghana is deemed its primary ally in the West African sub-region.

David Olujinmi

David Olujinmi studies Engineering but his true passion is research and analysis. He writes about finance, particularly the capital market, investment banking, and asset management. More »

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