Vice President Kamala Harris will embark on a week-long trip to Africa this weekend as the United States tries to establish itself as a better partner than China, which has been investing heavily in the continent for decades.
Harris will discuss China’s involvement in technology and economic issues in Africa that concern the United States, as well as China’s involvement in debt restructuring, senior US officials said.
One of the three countries Harris will visit is Zambia, the first African country to default on its national debt during the COVID-19 pandemic and is working towards an agreement with its creditors, including China.
“We are not asking our partners in Africa to choose,” a senior official said of competition with China, while adding that the United States is “really concerned about China’s behavior in Africa” and its “opaque” commercial relations.
Harris will be in Ghana from March 26-29 and then in Tanzania from March 29-31. Its last stage is Zambia, on March 31 and April 1. She will meet with the presidents of the three countries and plans to announce investments in the public and private sectors.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Harris will discuss how best for the international community to resolve Ghana and Zambia’s debt problems.
The White House hosted a summit of African leaders in December and President Joe Biden is expected to visit Africa this year.
Harris has a personal connection to Zambia. Her maternal grandfather worked in the countryside and she visited him when she was little.
“The Vice President is very much looking forward to returning to Lusaka, which is a part of her family’s history and a source of pride,” said one of the officials.
Harris will also meet with young leaders and business representatives and discuss topics such as climate change and food insecurity.
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