Harris, the first Black U.S. woman vice president, arrived at Kotoka International Airport on Sunday with second gentleman Doug Emhoff, ABC News reported.
Ghana Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia welcomed them with a ceremony that included flowers, dancers and drummers. Children gathered at the side of the stage, where Harris made brief remarks.
“What an honor it is to be here in Ghana and on the continent of Africa,” Harris said in part. ABC News shared a video of the vice president greeting the crowd on the tarmac.
A White House call with members of the press, attended by Blavity, was held before her departure and included Bill Gordon, the vice president’s national security adviser, and National Security Council Director for African Affairs Judd Devermont sharing the nature of the trip.
Harris’ visit to the continent is a follow-up to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022. Ghana is the first stop in her three-country itinerary before she visits Zambia and Tanzania “as a further statement of the long and enduring and very important relationship and friendship between the people of the United States and those who live on the continent of Africa,” Harris said in her remarks.
Vice Pres. Kamala Harris arrived in Ghana on Sunday, kicking off a weeklong trip to the continent that will also take her to Tanzania and Zambia.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 26, 2023
While on her trip, Harris will be meeting with country leaders to reconvene the conversation around “increasing investments on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity.”
She also mentioned her trip would focus on the “economic empowerment of women and girls and youth entrepreneurship” and, lastly, “digital inclusion” and food security in light of mounting challenges from climate change, ABC News reported.
Harris made a point to mention the importance of the younger generation of Africa, as the median age of the continent is 19.
Having a continent with such a young group at the helm of change was acknowledged as a benefit, as they will champion change, access and opportunity.
Harris’ zeal for including the youth was on display Monday. After meeting with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, she visited a recording studio in Accra and engaged with groups of young people in the creative industry.
Vibrate Space founder Sandy Alibo welcomed @VP Kamala Harris who is accompanied by Sheryl Lee Ralph and Idris Elba to Vibrate Space, a community recording studio for young creatives, at the Freedom Skatepark in Accra, Ghana.
— Sky | MVP supporter 💛 (@skylikeajedi) March 27, 2023
On Tuesday, Harris delivered a speech to an audience of young people at Black Star Gate in Accra.
She expressed her optimism about the future of Africa, and by extension, the world, because of the ingenuity and creativity prevalent across the continent, especially in young people.
Her speech centered on the theme of innovation and its uncompromisable role in the growth of Africa.
Mentions included innovative developments across the continent, and ensuring they benefit the world in tech, agriculture, clean energy and science.
As mentioned in her arrival speech, Harris intentionally spoke about women’s empowerment. She argued that women worldwide must be able to participate in economic, political and social life fully and equally, including in leadership roles.
She outlined the United States’ approach to partnership with African nations and people as a pillar of good governance and democracy, building on President Joe Biden’s statement at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022 that “we’re all in on Africa.”
“Together, we will address the challenges we face and the opportunities ahead. And today, I will speak about one particular area of opportunity: investment in innovation. Innovation is the pursuit of what can be, unburdened by what has been,” Harris said.
She continued, “Innovation results in one’s ability not only to see but do things differently: new methods, new products, new approaches, new ideas. We innovate to be more effective and to solve problems. From the invention of new technology to the origin of social movements, innovation has come about by challenging the premise, questioning the status quo, and bold thinking.” She addressed the youth as “dreamers and innovators” and stated their “spark” is what will drive the future.
“And with that, African ideas and innovations will shape the future of the world, and so we must invest in African ingenuity and creativity, which will unlock incredible economic growth and opportunities — not only for the people of the 54 countries that make up this diverse continent, but also for the American people and people around the world,” she said.
Wednesday will be Harris’ last day in Ghana. She will meet with women entrepreneurs and discuss the economic empowerment of women.
White House officials anticipate there will be a conversation surrounding “continental theories of continent-wide public and private sector investments to help close the digital gender divide and to empower women economically more broadly.”
Harris will begin her meetings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Thursday. She will meet with President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Harris and Hassan will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy there.
She will then continue her outreach to thought leaders in a meeting with tech entrepreneurs.
She will depart from Tanzania and head to Lusaka, Zambia, on Friday, where she will meet with President Hakainde Hichilema in the capital city.
During her meetings on Saturday, Harris will focus on climate adaptation, resilience and food security.
Continent-wide public and private sector investments will be announced to increase climate resilience and food security efforts.
Lastly, in Lusaka on Saturday, Harris will meet with African business and philanthropic leaders to discuss digital and financial inclusion on the continent. They will discuss how to partner together best and build on the work of her trip and all the private sector announcements she will announce on the trip.
Harris’ trip will conclude on April 2 with her return to Washington, D.C.
This trip is to create the foundation of forward thinking and partnership between the continent and the United States.
During the press call, it was stated that “by 2050, one in four people on the planet will be on the African continent.”