U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is due to meet Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra on Monday on a return visit. The pair last met in the Ceremonial Office at the White House when Afuko-Addo visited Washington in September 2021. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is kicking off a high-profile week-long African visit in Ghana as part of an effort by the administration to re-engage with the continent.
Backed up by a $139 million aid package the visit, which will also see Harris travel to Tanzania and Zambia, aims to strengthen the United States' partnership with Ghana and promote regional security, according to a White House briefing Monday.
It follows last week's announcement by President Joe Biden of a new 10-year strategy to prevent conflict and promote stability in the West African nations of Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Togo.
"The Biden-Harris Administration intends to invest more than $100 million to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in Coastal West Africa, including at least $86 million in funding over three years specifically dedicated to implementation of the new 10-year plan," the White House said.
"The plan is intended to address regional threats of violent extremism and instability in Coastal West Africa and enable the U.S. Government to work with Congress to marshal additional assistance to support efforts in the region over the coming years."
The two sides will also promote inclusive economic growth through investing in women and youth entrepreneurs, innovation, regional integration, and greater engagement with global African communities.
They will also address health challenges, with $20 million earmarked to tackle infectious diseases and $27 million for malaria as well as partnering to build resilience to climate change.
On economic development assistance, the Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance will deploy a full-time resident advisor to Accra in 2023 to assist the Ministry of Finance in developing and executing medium- to long-term reforms needed to improve debt sustainability and support a viable government debt market.
The project will complement and build on the Ghana government's debt restructuring efforts. This project is part of OTA's ongoing engagement to strengthen public financial management and financial sector oversight across sub-Saharan Africa involving 25 projects in 15 African countries.
This includes eight new projects in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Zambia.
The projects range from revenue policy, budget and financial accountability to government debt issuance, infrastructure financing and economic crimes.
Later in the week, Harris will go on to meet with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.
Harris' visit also comes against a backdrop of U.S. efforts to find a middle way of pushing back against the growing, tangible, influence of China on the continent where its belt and roads initiative has made great strides, particularly in Zambia.
"The danger is that we go there, and we say, 'we'd like to talk to you about China,'" said Mark Green, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania.
"It would be very hard to blame Africans, if they didn't hear that and say, 'aha, this isn't about us, it's about China."