US Vice President Harris begins visit to Africa, the 'world's future'

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Europe Getty Images via AFP - ANNA MONEYMAKER
MAR 26, 2023 LISTEN
Getty Images via AFP - ANNA MONEYMAKER

US Vice President Kamala Harris starts a three-country tour of Africa this weekend, visiting Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia to promote the White House's positive vision of the continent as the "future of the world".   

Harris starts her tour in Ghana on Sunday. She is following in the footsteps of five of President Joe Biden's cabinet secretaries and First Lady Jill Biden.

The administration clearly wants to deepen engagement with a continent virtually ignored under Republican Donald Trump.

Washington has traditionally regarded Africa as a source of trouble rather than a place of potential.

Outdated views

"We want to dismantle long-held and often outdated notions of what it means to live, work and invest in Africa," a US official told reporters on Friday.

Harris "believes African innovation and ideas will shape the future of the world," said the official.

The tour is obviously part of Washington's pushback against growing Chinese and Russian involvement in the resource-rich continent.

"It's no secret that we are engaged in competition with China," a senior US official said.

Citing "real concerns" about China's use of loans to gain control over weak economies in Africa, the official insisted the United States is not trying to copy Beijing's methods.

"Our relationship with Africa cannot and should not be defined by competition with China," he said, proclaiming an "affirmative agenda in Africa" that leans on public-private partnerships and transparency.