US Vice President Kamala Harris starts Africa tour in Ghana, announces security aid
The United States will provide $100 million to Ghana and four other West African countries to help them deal with violent extremism and instability, Vice President Kamala Harris said on Monday during a visit to Ghana.
Harris was in Accra at the start of a week-long, three-nation African tour, the latest in a series of visits by senior U.S. officials as Washington seeks to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence on the continent.
“President Biden and I have made clear the United States is strengthening our partnerships across the continent of Africa,” she said during a joint news conference with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.
China has invested heavily in Africa in the last two decades, particularly in infrastructure, mining, timber and fishing, while Russian private military contractor Wagner Group is providing security assistance in several countries.
Akufo-Addo reiterated that he was concerned about Wagner’s presence in West Africa.
“It raises the very real possibility … that once again our continent is going to become the playground for great power conflict,” he said, standing alongside Harris.
Several countries across West Africa and the Sahel region have been struggling to quell Islamist insurgencies that have caused humanitarian disasters and fuelled discontent — contributing factors to military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso.
“We appreciate your leadership in response to recent democratic back-sliding in West Africa,” Harris told Akufo-Addo.
“To help address the threats of violent extremism and instability, today I am pleased to announce $100 million in support of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo,” she said.
That is in addition to $139 million in bilateral assistance that the United States intends to provide to Ghana in the fiscal year 2024, according to Harris’s office.