Kamala Harris gives $139 million to Ghana during Africa trip

 March 28, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday during a visit to Ghana that the U.S. would gift the country with $139 million in aid ranging from economic support to counter-terrorism programs. 

The aid for the current fiscal year will allow for debt restructuring, economic aid for poor regions in northern Ghana, and money for conflict prevention and to combat human trafficking.

Harris also pledged that the Biden administration would send a full-time economic adviser to Ghana from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) in order to oversee economic reforms.

She praised President Nana Akufo-Addo for his democratic principles.

"Beacon of democracy"

“Under your leadership, Ghana has been a beacon of democracy and a contributor to global peace and security,” Harris said during their meeting.

“We appreciate your leadership in response to recent democratic back-sliding in West Africa,” Harris added. “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.”

Akufo-Addo expressed appreciation for the help in getting Ghana's economy “back on track” after the pandemic. He also said he hopes American investors will become more interested in Ghana.

He said he was concerned about the spread of terrorism in the region, especially along Ghana's northern border, where officials suspect Russia's notorious Wagner Group may be active.

"Power conflict"

“It raises the very real possibility that once again our continent is going to become the playground for a great power conflict,” he said.

President Joe Biden said in December that the U.S. would give Africa $55 billion in total aid over the next five years, along with $15 billion in private investments.

“The United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa,” Biden said at the time.

The spending is probably an attempt to dilute the influence of China and Russia on the continent. China pledged to spend $2 billion on infrastructure in Ghana in 2019 in exchange for the nation's bauxite reserves.

Ethical strings

While Chinese and Russian money has come with no ethical strings attached, the U.S. has been criticized over aid to Ghana even though its government is considering passing an extreme anti-LGBT bill that would involve prison time for anyone who identifies as gay.

It's not an even playing field, but it seems that the U.S. can't afford to let China and Russia gain any more ground than they already have in Africa and other regions of the world.

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