US Vice President Kamala Harris
Photo by: Reuters
US Vice President Kamala Harris will on Monday announce a $139-million aid package for Ghana for next year as she begins a week-long trip to Africa, part of Washington's drive to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence on the continent.
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.
Harris's trip, which includes visits to Tanzania and Zambia, is the latest in a series of tours by senior US government figures as Washington seeks to improve ties with the continent.
Earlier this month Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ethiopia and Niger, where he announced $150-million in humanitarian aid for Africa's Sahel region.
On Monday Harris will meet Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra and announce a $100-million package to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo.
"The plan is intended to address regional threats of violent extremism and instability in Coastal West Africa," the vice president's office said in a statement.
Washington will also deploy an adviser to Ghana from its Office of Technical Assistance to help the country improve its "debt sustainability and support a competitive, dynamic government debt market," Harris's office said.
Ghana defaulted on most of its $29-billion external debt last year, as interest payments and inflation soared, and it still needs to negotiate a resolution with its private international bondholders and bilateral creditors.
China is Ghana's biggest bilateral creditor with about $1.9-billion of debt. Ghana's finance ministry said last week it expected to secure financing assurances "very soon", following meetings in China.