US Vice President, Kamala Harris, has said she will work on increasing investment in Africa. She made the statement on Monday in the Ghanian capital Accra during the first leg of her tour to some African countries.
“I intend to do work that is focused on increasing investment here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity,” Ghana’s news agency quoted her as saying, moments after she landed in Accra.
Besides Ghana, the American Vice President is expected to visit Zambia and Tanzania in a trip that is seen as an attempt to counter the growing economic influence of China in the continent.China has invested in infrastructure across the African continent in recent years while Russian military influence is increasing in the region.
Jibrin Ibrahim, a senior Fellow at Center for Democracy and Development in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, said America’s main driver to make allies in Africa is “panic”.“It has suddenly realized that its assumed hegemonic hold over the world is in question,” he tells TRT Afrika.
The fear is not only because China is making considerable progress in terms of its economic relationships with African and non-African countries in the world, he said.
But it is about the current crisis over the proxy war in Ukraine with Russia.“Many African countries refused to criticize Russia over the war in Ukraine.
In this context it is making this effort to try to secure some allies in Africa and try to persuade them to remain firmly in the camp of supporting the United States,” Ibrahim said.
Though the announcement made by Kamala Harris is an opportunity for Africa, whether Africans will benefit from it will depend on how African countries prepare in getting the best out of it, according to Dr Patrick Asuming of the department of Finance in University of Ghana’s Business School.
“We have to understand that she is primarily in Africa to promote American businesses and to look for opportunities for American businesses in the African continent,” Dr Asuming said in an interview with TRT Afrika.
He said this can be an opportunity for African countries, but that will depend on “whether we have any fundamental strategy on how we deal with Americans,” he said.
For example he said the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a programme that gives sub-Saharan African countries preferential access to the US market in terms of agricultural produce, but African countries have not exploited the opportunity in increasing their exports to America.
He said it will be good if African countries will unite in designing strategies they will use in dealing with the announcement of increasing investment in the continent by the USA so African can benefit from it.
Dr Asuming added that if Africa get a common strategy to deal with all developed countries that are seeking alliance with African countries, African countries will be in position to get a better deal that will benefit Africans.