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Vice President Harris to travel to Africa at end of the month

Vice President Harris speaks during a roundtable meeting in the Vice President's Ceremonial Office in Washington on Friday. (Ting Shen/UPI/Bloomberg News)
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Vice President Harris will travel to Africa at the end of the month for meetings with the leaders of Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia, making her the most senior Biden administration official to visit the continent, the White House announced Monday.

The March 25 to April 2 trip — her first to Africa since becoming vice president — comes on the heels of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington in December. It “will strengthen the United States’ partnerships throughout Africa and advance our shared efforts on security and economic prosperity,” a White House spokeswoman, Kirsten Allen, said in a statement.

On the trip, Harris will meet with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Topics for the upcoming meetings will include “our shared commitment to democracy, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, food security” and support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia, according to the statement. Harris will also “strengthen people-to-people ties and engage with civil society, including young leaders, business representatives, entrepreneurs, and members of the African Diaspora.”

Accompanying Harris on the trip will be her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

For Harris, the first female, Black and Asian vice president, the trip comes as she seeks to assert herself more forcefully ahead of the 2024 election. In January, she delivered a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion, which it overturned in June. In February, Harris said Russia has committed “crimes against humanity” during its unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Harris previously met with Hichilema in Washington in September 2021 after Zambia’s national election.

“Last month, we watched as a historic number of Zambians voted for you, with young people leading the way,” Harris said at a news briefing at the time. During the briefing, Harris also disclosed that she had visited the country when she was 5, “posing in front of the parliament building there.”

First lady Jill Biden recently traveled to Africa to promote women’s empowerment and democracy.