The US has unleashed a charm offensive in Africa under President Biden, trying to emulate Russia and China.
This weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris embarks on a three-country tour of Africa as the United States looks to present itself as a better partner than China, which has invested heavily in the continent in recent decades.
Harris will be in Ghana from March 26-29 and then in Tanzania from March 29-31. Her last stop is Zambia, where she will be from March 31 to April 1. She will meet with the presidents of the three countries and announce plans for investments in the public and private sectors.
Harris will discuss China’s involvement in technology and economic issues in Africa that concern the US, as well as China’s involvement in debt restructuring, senior US officials said.
Zambia, the first African country to default on its national debt during the COVID-19 pandemic, is working with its creditors, including China, to reach an agreement.
“We are not asking our partners in Africa to choose,” an official told Reuters news agency, describing competition with China, though he added that the US has “real concerns about some of China’s behavior in Africa” and the “opaque” of it. Business transactions.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case, said Harris would discuss the best ways for the international community to address Ghana and Zambia’s debt problems.
The White House hosted a summit of African leaders in December, and President Joe Biden is expected to travel to the continent later this year.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Ethiopia and Niger in March, less than a year after visiting South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Morocco, Algeria and Rwanda.
The many recent engagements are a departure from Washington’s stance under Biden’s predecessor, Republican President Donald Trump, who largely ignored the continent, and it comes as Russia deepens military involvement in Francophone Africa.
Harris, who visited her maternal grandfather as a little girl while he worked there, “looks forward to returning to Lusaka, which is part of her family’s story and a source of pride,” said one of the officials.
During her tour, Harris will also meet young leaders and business representatives and discuss topics such as climate change and food insecurity.