Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as US President Joe Biden looks on during a listening session at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on March 19, 2021. (Photo Eric Baradat/AFP )

US will Increase Investment to Africa, says Vice President Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris says the United States will increase investment in Africa as she began a three-country tour of the continent aimed at countering the influence of rival China.

Harris arrived in Ghana on Sunday, beginning her week-long tour in Africa that would take her to Tanzania and Zambia. She will meet with the three countries’ presidents and plans to announce public- and private-sector investments.

“On this trip, I intend to do work that is focused on increasing investments here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity,” Harris said on Sunday shortly after touching down in Ghana.

She said her trip is “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.”

According to Reuters, the visit aimed at pitching the US as a better partner than rival powers China, which has invested heavily in the continent over several decades, and Russia, whose influence is growing particularly across Francophone Africa.

African nations are aware that there are ulterior motives for this push for a closer alliance, observers say.

“African nations are not naive … The US has a long history of meddling in African affairs, supporting dictators versus liberation movements, pushing hard for US multinationals’ access to African markets and resources, while leaving countries with nothing,” said Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi, reporting from Washington, DC.

“So the US is saying, ‘That’s all in the past now, we are partners, we can all be successful’, whereas what we’re hearing from Africa is, ‘We don’t want to choose between China, Russia, and the US, but we will do what we feel is in our best interest.’”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Ethiopia and Niger this March, less than a year after visiting South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Morocco, Algeria and Rwanda.

This flurry of diplomacy is “about the geopolitical struggles that are going on, and the fear in Washington that it’s losing ground, specifically now in Africa where there is a scramble for resources, where there are rarer minerals to power the Green Revolution, and so on”, Rattansi said.

Sources: Al Jazeera, & Reuters