U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Tanzania on Thursday as part of her African tour aimed at bolstering trade and investment ties with the continent. Her visit comes at a time when China and Russia are increasingly expanding their influence in Africa, posing a challenge to the United States.
During her visit, Harris met with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan to discuss issues of mutual concern, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and security. She also announced plans to increase trade with Tanzania and boost U.S. investment in the country.
Strengthening Ties with Africa amid Growing Competition
Harris’s visit to Tanzania is part of her broader effort to deepen U.S. engagement with Africa. Her trip comes after several high-level visits to the continent by top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The United States is seeking to counter China and Russia’s growing influence in Africa, which has seen both countries ramping up investments and infrastructure projects in various parts of the continent. China is Africa’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade exceeding $200 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, Russia has been seeking to increase its presence in Africa through arms sales, military training, and energy deals.
In this context, Harris’s visit to Tanzania is seen as an important step in reaffirming the United States’ commitment to Africa and countering China and Russia’s influence. During her meeting with President Hassan, Harris reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting Tanzania’s economic development and enhancing trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Boosting Trade and Investment in Tanzania
To this end, Harris announced several measures to increase trade and investment between the United States and Tanzania. These include expanding U.S. investment in Tanzania’s energy sector, increasing trade in agriculture and other key sectors, and promoting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania.
Harris also pledged to support Tanzania’s efforts to combat corruption and promote good governance, which are seen as key factors in attracting foreign investment and fostering economic growth.
The United States and Tanzania have a long history of economic ties, with bilateral trade totaling over $500 million in 2019. However, there is significant potential for further growth, particularly in the energy, infrastructure, and tourism sectors.
According to Harris, the United States is committed to working with Tanzania to help unlock this potential and promote inclusive economic growth that benefits all Tanzanians.
Kamala Harris’s visit to Tanzania highlights the growing importance of Africa as a key region for the United States. As China and Russia increase their investments and influence in the continent, the United States is seeking to deepen its ties with African countries and promote economic growth and development.
Harris’s announcement to boost trade and investment in Tanzania is a significant step in this direction, signaling the United States’ commitment to supporting African economies and countering the growing influence of China and Russia.
In the coming years, it remains to be seen how the United States’ engagement with Africa will evolve and how it will navigate the complex geopolitics of the region.