May 27, 2024

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“I am excited about the future of Africa,” said Kamala Harris when visiting Ghana

When Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Ghana on March 26 to begin a week-long trip to Africa, she was welcomed by schoolchildren, dancers, and drummers. The goal of the trip was to strengthen U.S. ties amid competition over the future of the continent on the international stage.

As she came out of her plane following a nighttime flight, the kids shouted and waved American and Ghanaian flags. She walked by the dancers with a huge smile on her face and a hand on her heart.

Although Ghana ranks among the most stable democracies on the continent, Ms. Harris is joining the country at a time when it faces many serious difficulties. Its economy, which was among the world’s fastest expanding before the COVID-19 epidemic, is currently facing a debt crisis and skyrocketing inflation that is increasing the price of food and other necessities.

Ghana, a nation of 34 million people that is a little smaller than Oregon, is similarly concerned about the dangers posed by regional instability. Two coups have recently taken place in Burkina Faso and Mali, and the Sahel region, which lies north of Ghana, is home to local affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organisation. Millions more have been displaced, and many people have died.

Monday’s meeting between Ms. Harris and Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, is anticipated to include discussion of the country’s economic and security concerns. A joint news conference is also anticipated.

President Joe Biden’s administration has had several high-profile officials travel to Africa this year, but Ms. Harris is the most well-known. She’s going to Tanzania and Zambia after Ghana. By April 2, she will be back in Washington.

The wider reach is meant to counter China’s influence, which has grown recently as a result of infrastructure projects, loan programmes, and the expansion of telecommunications networks. For instance, Ghana and a Chinese corporation agreed to a $2 billion contract whereby Ghana will build roads and do other projects in exchange for access to a crucial mineral for the production of aluminium.

Ghana has been a bright spot in the region, but it’s facing some very tough downside risks, according to Cameron Hudson, an expert on Africa at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Mr. Hudson claimed that both people traffickers and shipments of weaponry had been stopped by Ghanaian officials. There are violent outbursts from time to time, and they were more frequent last year.