US vice president in Ghana to enhance trade ties and counter Chinese influence in Africa

US Vice President Harris promises greater investment for Africa [Photo: Reuters]

ACRA, Ghana - In a bid to counter China’s influence in the African continent, US Vice President Kamala Harris has arrived at Ghana for the first stop on her three-nation African tour.

The US VP was received by Ghana’s Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.

Harris is a mixed Black and Asian heritage – has been sent to deepen ties with the continent, amid growing competition from other global powers, especially China and Russia.

"We are looking forward to this trip as a further statement of the long and enduring very important relationship and friendship between the people of the United States and those who live on this continent,” Harris said.

She added that “What an honor it is to be here in Ghana and on the continent of Africa. I'm very excited about the future of Africa,” she added.

Harris aims to promote economic growth and food security and welcomed the chance to “witness firsthand the extraordinary innovation and creativity that is occurring on this continent.”

Harris is the highest-profile member of President Joe Biden’s administration to visit Africa this year. Most of Harris’ events in Ghana will focus on young people. Africa’s population has a median age of 19.

This trip paves the way for the even more anticipated visit by President Joe Biden, as promised at the US-Africa Summit held in Washington in December 2022.

A little over a decade ago, former US president Barack Obama showed America’s commitment to Africa’s growth through wide-ranging programs and initiatives that aimed at cementing US-Africa relations. But Donald Trump’s lukewarm relationship with Africa and the continuous rise of China’s influence have made the US rethink its investment in Africa-US relations.

From the pronouncements at the US-Africa Summit in Washington D.C last year, President Joe Biden appeared to reset the relations to build broken bridges.

Biden has been vocal in his support for African representation in World governing organs including the UN, calling for an African permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

He has made clear his support for a ‘permanent African Union role in the Group of 20 economies.’

President Biden’s ambitions to re-engine US influence in Africa are evident not only in his planned trip to the continent later this year but, also in the 15-plus visits to the continent by top US officials in the course of just the last three months; that is more than 5 top US officials visiting the continent every month, or more than 1 official every week.

First Lady Jill Biden visited Namibia and Kenya while US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen flew to Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.
US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield also toured Africa to market ‘American values,’ to mention but a few of the over dozen top US officials that visited Africa this year.

Why is this barrage of senior US government officials so keen to enhance ties with Africa? Africa is quickly becoming a center for future investment, global food security, and world security.

However, the US is now playing catch up as its rivals like China have made significant inroads in Africa through infrastructure deals, mining rights, and diplomatic wins that were before strictly reserved for the West.


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