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Harris to Visit Africa After Blinken: US Officials

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, White House, Jan. 27, 2021.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, White House, Jan. 27, 2021.

WASHINGTON — The office of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday she will travel to Africa at the end of the month, following Secretary of State Antony Blinken's diplomatic trip to the continent scheduled to start Thursday.

A statement released Monday by the vice president’s spokesperson, Kirsten Allen, announced that Harris will travel to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia in a bid to strengthen relationships between Washington and the continent.

"The trip will strengthen the United States’ partnerships throughout Africa and advance our shared efforts on security and economic prosperity," Allen said in a statement.

Harris is scheduled to be in Ghana from March 26 to 29, in Tanzania from March 29 to 31, finalizing her trip to the continent in Zambia, where she will spend a day.

Harris’ agenda is set to focus on a range of issues, among them promoting democracy, climate adaptation, women’s economic empowerment and food security.

"Besides meeting the presidents of each of the three countries she’s visiting, Harris plans to talk with young leaders, business representatives, entrepreneurs, and members of the African diaspora," Allen said.

"Our administration will be guided not by what we can do for Africa but what we can do with Africa," she added.

The vice president’s trip is set to happen as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarks on a diplomatic trip to Ethiopia and Niger Thursday.

Ned Price, State Department spokesperson, Friday released a statement on Blinken’s trip.

"In the first ever visit to Niger by U.S. Secretary of State, on March 16, Secretary Blinken will meet President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou in Niamey. He will discuss ways to advance the U.S.-Niger partnership on diplomacy, democracy, development, and defense," said Price’s statement.

"Secretary Blinken will also engage youths from Niger’s conflict zones, who have completed the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, and Reconciliation (DDRR) program, to learn about their contributions to peace in Niger," added the statement.

Brook Hailu, the general manager of Nahoo TV, a private television network in Ethiopia, said Ethiopians hope that Blinken’s trip will result with Washington dropping its sanctions on their nation.

"I think the government of Ethiopia and the people by the way look forward to the lifting of sanctions," Hailu said.

"More so Ethiopia to be back into AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) because Ethiopia has been suspected from AGOA and because of that almost 1 million jobs were affected and companies were closed," he added.

This report was compiled by VOA’s Mike Hove. VOA’s James Butty contributed. Some information was sourced from Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.