U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris began her three-day state tour in West Africa, starting in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
During a joint press conference with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday, Harris announced a $100 million package to support Ghana and four other African nations in their efforts to combat violent extremism and bolster stability.
Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo will receive the funds.
Moreover, Harris emphasized that the Biden administration is committed to strengthening partnerships across Africa, a continent that grappled with neglect during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.
“President Biden and I have made clear the United States is strengthening our partnerships across the continent of Africa,” said Harris.
Reports suggest that President Biden is also planning to tour the continent before the end of his first term in 2024.
In addition to the $100 million package, Kamala Harris announced that the U.S. government plans to provide an extra $139 million for Ghana in 2024.
At the same time, after her visit to Ghana, Harris will travel to Tanzania and Zambia.
Countering China’s Growing influence
The renewed U.S. engagement with Africa aims to counter China’s growing influence on the continent, which has expanded over the past two decades through multi-billion-dollar development projects in infrastructure, mining, timber, and fishing sectors.
Noteworthy, Harris’ tour follows Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow, where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed strategies to counter U.S. sanctions.
During his Moscow visit, Putin also announced various initiatives for African heads of state ahead of the Russia-Africa Summit set for July.
He vowed to solidify ties with Africa, emphasizing the need to defend traditional moral values and resist neo-colonial ideologies imposed from abroad.
Besides, Harris’ trip to Africa comes weeks after First Lady Jill Biden visited Kenya and Namibia. In response to the ongoing drought in the region, which has left over four million people facing starvation, the U.S. provided $126 million in food assistance following the First Lady’s visit.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contributed nearly $310 million in humanitarian aid in Fiscal Year 2022 alone, the largest share of donor funding to date.