Biden’s officials coming to Africa to strengthen partnerships

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Biden’s officials coming to Africa to strengthen partnerships
Vice President Kamala Harris (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

By Pearl Matibe

United States President Joseph Biden made a solemn promise to African Leaders when he hosted them in Washington, D.C. last year in December (2022).

President Biden told them he was serious about increasing U.S. attention on Africa. Last Friday, Press Secretary to Vice President Kirsten Allen published details of the forthcoming official travel to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The official travel will be from March 25 until April 2, 2023. Vice President Harris will be accompanied by her husband, the Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

The White House has said that the visit, “will build on the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit that President Biden hosted in Washington in December 2022. The trip will strengthen the United States’ partnerships throughout Africa and advance our shared efforts on security and economic prosperity.”

She will meet with the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Tanzania Samia Hassan, and the President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema.

On their agenda, will be discussions on, “regional and global priorities, including our shared commitment to democracy, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, food security, and the effects of Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, among other issues. The Vice President will strengthen people-to-people ties and engage with civil society, including young leaders, business representatives, entrepreneurs, and members of the African Diaspora,” the White House said.

Additionally, more U.S. government officials will be traveling through the continent this week.

Firstly, from March 14-17, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in Ethiopia and Niger having talks after the landmark peace deal was signed in Pretoria last November with the support of the African Union, Kenya, South Africa, and the U.S.

Secondly, from March 12-14, a senior member of his foreign affairs cabinet is also visiting. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya is on official travel to The Gambia and Senegal where she will meet with, “President Adama Barrow and Minister of Justice Dawda Jallow to discuss bilateral relations between the United States and The Gambia, the upcoming second Summit for Democracy, and The Gambia’s transitional justice process,” the Office of the U.S. Department of State’s spokesperson has confirmed via a press statement.

While in Senegal, in addition to meeting with government officials she will, “participate in a ceremony to commemorate the groundbreaking of a U.S.-funded, $6.2 million modernization project at the National Police School in Dakar,” said the State Department.

Thirdly, from March 13-17, 2023, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Lee Satterfield is making an important trip to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. She is scheduled to speak to young people, “and South African government officials and educational leaders; and discuss a variety of issues, ranging from United States-South African collaboration on higher education, including community colleges and technical schools, to cultural heritage protection and preservation.”

While in South Africa, her destinations will be focused on Johannesburg, as well as Cape Town. After Johannesburg, Satterfield will be in Cape Town, from March 16-17.

More visits by Biden’s government officials are expected in the coming months, to various countries in Africa. At his U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit and discussions, Biden pledged $165 million to fund and support credible elections on the continent, in addition to his own visit.

Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based foreign correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe

Biden’s officials coming to Africa to strengthen partnerships

Biden’s officials coming to Africa to strengthen partnerships