The Vice-President of the United States of America (USA), Kamala Harris, has said her week-long visit to Africa is focused on increasing investment on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunities.
She said her trip was also meant to address some of the issues relating to the partnership between Africa and its peoples and the people of the USA and reinforce the work that they needed to do together.
Ms Harris, who is starting her week-long Africa tour from Ghana, said this at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra moments after the Air Force Two, the official aircraft carrying her and her entourage, touched down at 12.23 p.m yesterday.
Accompanied by her husband, Douglas Craig Emhoff, known as the Second Gentleman of the US, high-level government officials, business people and diplomats, the US Vice-President will be in Ghana for three days and then move on to Tanzania and Zambia.
She was met on arrival at the KIA by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, some ministers of state and presidential staffers.
The proverbial Ghanaian hospitality was at play, as a cultural troupe put up a rich display of the Adowa Dance around the red carpet that ushered US Vice-President in.
After exchanging pleasantries with the Vice-President, ministers of state and US officials in the country, Ms Harris interacted with children from BASICS International, a school run by a US not-for-profit organisation based at Chorkor in Accra.
On what the US and Africa must continue to do, Mr Harris specifically mentioned areas such as the economic empowerment of girls and women, empowerment of youth entrepreneurship, digital inclusion and support for the work that must be done to increase food security, including adaptation to the effects of climate crisis.
Excited about future
She described her trip as a further statement of the long, enduring and important relationship and friendship between the US and Africa.
“I am very excited about the future of Africa. I am very excited about the impact of the future of Africa on the rest of the world, including the USA,” she added.
She said happenings on the continent and the fact that the median age of Africa’s population was 19 years were indications of increased opportunities of innovation and possibilities.
“I see in all of that great opportunity, not only for the people of this continent but also the people of the world, especially when we understand that by 2050, one in four people on earth will be on the continent of Africa,” she added.
A visibly elated Vice-President Harris said she was looking forward to her meetings with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo today, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia.
She said together, they would build on the previous meetings she had with each of them to strengthen democracy and good governance, promote peace and security, build on long-term economic growth and strengthen business ties.
“I also look forward, during this visit, to meeting with entrepreneurs, artists, students and farmers to witness at first-hand the extraordinary innovation and creativity that is occurring on this continent and inspiring the world,” she added.
On March 23, 1998, US President Bill Clinton became the first sitting US President to visit Ghana.
Mr Clinton’s visit was part of a 12-day six-nation African tour, with Ghana again being the first port of call.
The other five African countries he visited were Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal.
President George W. Bush followed on Wednesday, February 20, 2008, during former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration, for a three-day state visit.
Then came President Barack Obama, who travelled to Ghana for a day’s state visit on July 11, 2009 during the Presidency of Professor J.E.A. Mills as the first country in his first state visit to Africa.
President Obama also became the first US President to deliver a speech in Parliament and visit a slave departure point when he visited the Cape Coast Castle.
“I've come here to Ghana for a simple reason: The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington but what happens in Accra, as well,” he had declared.