Senior Biden officials deepen ties in visits to Africa

Senior Biden officials deepen ties in visits to Africa

Senior Biden officials deepen ties in visits to Africa

Senior Biden officials deepen ties in visits to Africa

While visiting a farm outside Lusaka, Zambia, Vice President Harris announced $7 billion in private sector investments to boost food production across Africa and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The March 31 announcement came as the vice president wrapped up a weeklong trip to Africa, which included visits to Ghana and Tanzania.

The vice president is among several senior Biden officials who have traveled to Africa in 2023, fulfilling a pledge President Biden made during the December U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The president also intends to travel to the continent in 2023, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to the region.

Here’s a look at some of those recent trips.

Vice President Harris

In Ghana, the vice president led a discussion of women entrepreneurs, where she announced a $1 billion global initiative to support women entrepreneurs in Africa.

In Tanzania, she met with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Africa’s only female head of state, and praised Hassan for her work to empower women leaders. Harris made a series of announcements, including U.S. plans to provide $560 million in bilateral assistance for Tanzania in 2024.

“I do strongly believe, I think most of us would agree, that when you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families, and all of society benefits,” Harris said March 31.

In Zambia, where the administration intends to commit $505 million, she lauded Zambia’s leadership as the African co-host of the second Summit for Democracy. Harris also noted that as a young girl, she visited the country when her maternal grandfather, an Indian civil servant, was stationed there. “It is good to be with you again,” she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

In March, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia, where the U.S. is providing an additional $331 million in humanitarian assistance. He praised the region’s leaders for supporting the November 2 cessation of hostilities that calls for an end to the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

“We have been talking a lot, of course, about the very important cessation of hostilities in Tigray, which has produced very significant benefits, but one aspect of that is, of course, the importance of transitional justice and accountability, making sure that the rights of every Ethiopian are protected,” he said March 15.

He also completed the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Niger, where he met President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou in Niamey. “Niger is a young democracy in a challenging part of the world, but it remains true to the democratic values that we share,” the secretary said.

First lady Jill Biden

The first lady visited Namibia and Kenya in February, focusing on the regional food crisis and public health issues. During her five-day trip, she also promoted HIV/AIDS prevention programs. She met with Namibian President Hage Geingob and Monica Geingos, the nation’s first lady.

When asked why Namibia was her first stop, she said, “We wanted to come because you know this is a young democracy, and we want to support democracies around the world.”

In Kenya, Biden and Rachel Ruto, Kenya’s first lady, met with women entrepreneurs who created their own lending network to provide financing that they cannot obtain from commercial banks.

U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, visited Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Somalia in late January.

In Mozambique, she met with Foreign Minister Verónica Macamo to discuss continued cooperation during the country’s historic first term on the U.N. Security Council. Thomas-Greenfield also volunteered with a local group on mangrove preservation efforts and met with women entrepreneurs who participated in a U.S. exchange program.

“The U.S.-Mozambique partnership will shape not only the future of the region, but the future of the world,” she said January 27. “And that will be a future that will be one of greater peace, greater security, and greater prosperity for all.”

In Somalia, Thomas-Greenfield announced an additional $40 million in U.S. funding to help the country deal with extreme levels of food insecurity arising from the worst drought on record, in addition to the $1.3 billion provided since 2022.

“The United States is asking other donors and the world to go bigger and be bolder,” she said January 29. “This is the moment to bolster your humanitarian contributions.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

Success in Africa means success for all of us,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at Ford Motor assembly plant in Pretoria, South Africa, the final country stop on her 10-day trip to Africa.

Yellen began her trip in Senegal, where she discussed U.S. assistance with construction of Africa’s largest wind farm. In Zambia, she highlighted the nation’s new National Public Health Institute, funded by the U.S. to fight diseases such as COVID-19.

“The United States is committed to working with you to deepen our ties: not for show, not for the short term — but for the long haul,” she said January 26.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Niger.