Vice President Kamala Harris said that the United States would increase its investment and diplomatic cooperation with African nations last week. Her statement comes after a number of prominent American aid packages and competition for influence with China in the region.
Harris made the comments Sunday in Ghana, as she started a tour of African nations. She will also visit Tanzania and Zambia. The United States offered $55 billion in aid funding over the coming three years.
The vice president said that she was “focused on increasing investments here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity.”
The vice president spoke on the wider trend of American aid and cooperation in Africa. The United States has played an increasing role in the world’s second-largest continent, especially as Russia and China increased their profiles there.
Kamala Harris in Ghana: "The median age on the continent of Africa is 19. Think about what that means in terms of potential. Think about the fact that by 2050, 1-in-4 people occupying a place on Mother Earth will be on this continent and what that means." pic.twitter.com/vLivDKxNir
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 27, 2023
Russia has become more involved in a number of African causes, including sending contract soldiers to help settle civil conflicts.
Wagner contract soldiers backed by Moscow intervened in the Central African Republic to attempt to end a civil war there. That country put up a statue of Wagner soldiers in appreciation of their role.
Furthermore, Russia has signed a number of lucrative trade deals with African nations. Between 2015 and the start of 2022, Russian trade with the various nations of Africa more than doubled. Russia currently exports more to Africa than it imports.
In addition, Russia received requests for military aid from multiple countries in Africa, including Mali. Mali was the site of a French military intervention against Islamist rebels. Russia is also a key player in the core disagreement between major factions in Libya.
China is becoming a larger presence on the African continent in multiple ways. Firstly, China has dramatically increased its trade with African nations, trading almost $70 billion with the continent in 2019. This represents more than the next two powers, India and the United States combined.
Beijing promised billions in aid for nations in Asia and Africa through its Belt and Road initiative to build infrastructure around the developing world. The United States may see an opening, as China’s investment in Africa declined considerably in 2022.