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ICYMI: Vice President Harris Strengthens U.S. Partnerships in Historic Trip to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia

April 03, 2023

On Saturday, Vice President Harris concluded a historic visit to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia, where she outlined how opportunity and innovation on the African continent will shape the future of the world and strengthen U.S. partnerships and alliances.

In Ghana, the Vice President delivered a speech to thousands of young Ghanaians about the exciting future of Africa, reflected on the brutal legacy of slavery at Cape Coast Castle, and highlighted the creative spirit of young artists and women entrepreneurs.

In Tanzania, she held a bilateral meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Museum and U.S. Embassy Bombing Memorial, and met with entrepreneurs at the SNDBX Co-Working Space.

In Zambia, Vice President Harris held a bilateral meeting with President Hakainde Hichilema, met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti, and visited the location that records indicate is the former residence of her grandparents. On her final day on the continent, she highlighted the importance of climate-smart agriculture and climate resilience at Panuka Farm, and convened business and philanthropic leaders to discuss digital inclusion.

During the trip, Vice President Harris announced more than $1 billion in private sector commitments to empower women across the continent, and more than $7 billion in private sector commitments that will support climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation across Africa.

Read additional coverage about the Vice President's trip below:

AP:Harris finds new connections in Africa as historic figure
[Chris Megerian, 4/2/23]

Vice President Kamala Harris may have traveled halfway around the world to reach this corner of Africa, but she was welcomed as a "daughter of our own country" when she sat down with Zambia's leader.

The visit, President Hakainde Hichilema said, was "like a homecoming."

It was a reference to a childhood trip to Zambia when Harris' grandfather worked here, but she heard similar refrains throughout her weeklong trip to Africa that ended Saturday.

In Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo told Harris "you're welcome home." In Tanzania, a sign in Swahili told Harris to "feel at home."

The greetings were a reflection of the enduring connections between the African diaspora in the United States and Africans themselves, something that America's first Black vice president fostered during her trip. [...]

"She is the ambassador we need at the moment," said Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, who chairs African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. "That's a joyous thing." […]

But at every stop, Harris was warmly embraced.

"Kamala Harris! Kamala Harris!" young girls shouted on the tarmac when she landed in Lusaka on Friday. She approached them with her hand on her chest in gratitude. "The VP is here! The VP is here!" […]

The 19th: In Tanzania, two history-making officials meet as Kamala Harris highlights women's leadership
[Errin Haines, 3/30/23]

The vice president of the United States and the president of Tanzania greeted each other Thursday for the first time on the African continent as the most powerful Black women in their respective countries.

Both Kamala Harris and Samia Suluhu Hassan are historic firsts, and Hassan is currently the only woman leader who is an official head of government in all of Africa's 54 countries. […]

"Today, Tanzania has made another historic milestone with two female leaders, a vice president and a president, meeting here," Hassan said. "The meeting takes place during this very important month, Women's History Month. What an inspiration and a testimony to Tanzanian young girls." […]

Women's inclusion and, more importantly, leadership in politics as a cornerstone for democracy and prosperity have been themes of Harris' week-long trip to the African continent […]

Reuters: Kamala Harris announces Tanzania trade boost during Africa tour
[Nuzulack Dausen, 4/1/23]

[…] Harris started her trip on Sunday in Ghana before flying late on Wednesday to Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam, where she met President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday.

The two women gave short statements to the media before going into a longer session of private talks.

"Working together, it is our shared goal to increase economic investment in Tanzania and strengthen our economic ties," Harris said, listing a number of initiatives. […]

Harris also mentioned a new partnership in 5G technology and cybersecurity, as well as a U.S.-supported plan by LifeZone Metals to open a new processing plant in Tanzania for minerals that go into electric vehicle batteries.

"This project is an important and pioneering model, using innovative and low-emission standards. Importantly, raw minerals will soon be processed in Tanzania, by Tanzanians," she said, adding that the plant would deliver battery-grade nickel to the United States and the global market from 2026. […]

AP: Harris peeks at peppers on farm with climate change in mind
[Chris Megerian, 4/1/23]

Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday traveled down a dirt road to tour a farm outside Zambia's capital that's using new techniques and technology to boost its vegetable crop as she highlighted ways to secure food supplies in an age of global warming.

"It's an example of what can be done around the world," she said after walking past rows of peppers and inspecting a drip irrigation system.

Unlike in the United States, where conversations about climate change usually revolve around replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, the focus in Africa is on expanding access to food. Rising prices stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine have been damaging to poor countries, and global warming is expected to bring more challenges in the coming years.

Hunger can also create instability, leading to migration and conflict.

"The connection between these issues is quite clear," Harris said. […]

The Hill: Harris visits site of grandfather's home in Zambia
[Alex Gangitano, 3/31/23]

Vice President Harris on Friday visited the site of her grandfather's home while in Zambia on a trip that she said had special significance for her.

She traveled to the land where the house was when her grandfather worked and lived in Zambia in the 1960s. […]

"My grandfather was one of my favorite people," Harris told reporters after the visit. "I was the eldest grandchild, and so I got the benefit and the blessing of a lot of time with him."

She added that her grandfather believed in the "nobility of public service" and in "fighting corruption." […]

Washington Post: Harris, in Africa, puts a rare emotional emphasis on her identity
[Cleve Wootson Jr., 4/1/23]

[…] Instead, this week, her identity was constantly on display, if not openly invoked — sometimes in searing and deeply personal ways.

On Tuesday, at a former way station in Ghana for enslaved people, she was a child of the diaspora, fighting tears after laying a bouquet at a women's dungeon and hearing a mournful song that was once sung by captives. Two days later, in Tanzania, she spoke about women's empowerment while onstage with the nation's female president, two "firsts" a few feet from each other.

And on Friday, she was P.V. Gopalan's granddaughter, walking through a building where her forebear's home once stood, describing how his example showed her a path into public service. […]

At a state banquet in her honor and a speech at the Black Star Gate in Ghana, she drew applause after noting that a member of the African diaspora had risen to become America's vice president. She used her own role to talk about ties between Africa and the United States. […]

Essence: US Vice President Kamala Harris Kicks Off Africa Tour with Historic Visit to Ghana
[Ekow Barnes, 3/31/23]

When Vice President Kamala Harris touched down in Ghana on Sunday, 26th March, she was welcomed by dancers and school-aged children waving U.S. and Ghanaian flags – a symbol of the strong bonds of friendship and partnership between the two nations. […]

"Today I am pleased to announce $100 million in support of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, and Togo," she said. "Last week President Joe Biden announced a strategic plan for coastal West Africa as part of the United States strategy to prevent conflict and promote stability."

She passionately expressed her hope that the recent funding will serve as a catalyst for implementing the bold and visionary policy outlined by the esteemed US President, Joe Biden, in his strategic plan. [….]

The Grio: Vice President Harris' historic trip to Africa signals America 'means business'
[Gerren Keith Gaynor, 3/29/23]

African and foreign policy experts are praising Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to Africa, where America's first Black, Asian and female vice president delivered sharp remarks about the history of slavery and announced U.S. investments to bring economic and gender equity to the continent.

On Wednesday, Harris convened a roundtable with several female African business owners in Ghana to discuss ways the United States and private-sector companies can partner with African nations to advance gender equality.

"When we lift up the economic status of women, we lift up the economic status of families, of communities — and all of society benefits," said Harris. "There's a direct correlation between policies that are directed at the economic empowerment of women and the general prosperity of societies." […]

The federal, private and philanthropic dollars that the vice president announced included hundreds of millions of dollars to promote economic security for women entrepreneurs and close the gender digital divide. […]

In her remarks on Tuesday to Ghanaian youth at Black Star Gate, Harris presented a scenario for a bright future. "Imagine a future where every person is connected to the digital economy," she said. "A future where every young person trusts that their voices are heard. A future that is propelled by African innovation." […]

Additional Coverage:

Kamala Harris, ICYMI: Vice President Harris Strengthens U.S. Partnerships in Historic Trip to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/360380

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