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Sikanku: Ghana can use Harris’s visit to revive economic confidence

Kamala Harris is on a three-day visit to Ghana as part of a three-nation tour of Africa – her first official trip to the continent

Etse Sikanku, a political communication expert and senior lecturer at the University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC-GIJ), is optimistic that the country’s economy can bounce back if Ghana takes advantage of the visit by the US vice-president, Kamala Harris.

Harris is on a three-day visit to Ghana at the start of a three-nation tour of Africa – her first official trip on the continent.

Appearing on the Asaase Breakfast Show on Tuesday (28 March), Sikanku said: “Kamala Harris represents several unique things, namely, from the view of women’s empowerment, representation of Africans in the diaspora and also as one who has roots in the African continent.

“We cannot downplay the optics that it represents [in Ghana, the US and around the world] for Kamala Harris to come here and communicate with us … the imagery of it has repercussions even on those to whom we owe credits.

“It represents an opportunity that, if leveraged, we can use as a platform for the restructuring and recovery of our economy post-COVID,” he said.

Increased investment

Vice-President Harris said on Sunday that the US will increase investment in Africa to speed up economic growth and opportunity on the continent.

She said this when she arrived in Ghana, kicking off a week-long trip to the continent that will take her to Tanzania and Zambia.

“In particular on this trip, I intend to do work that is focused on increasing investment here on the continent and facilitating economic growth and opportunity, specifically in the areas of economic empowerment of women and girls, empowerment of youth entrepreneurship, digital inclusion, and to support the work that must be done to increase food security, including adaptation to the effects of the climate crisis,” the vice-president said.

Harris, who is on her first trip to Africa as vice-president, was met on arrival at Kotoka International Airport in Accra by her Ghanaian counterpart, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ghana, Shirley Botchwey; and a host of other top government functionaries.

The US vice-president told guests at the airport that her trip to Africa was a “further statement of the long and enduring cordial relations and friendship between the United States and those who live on the continent of Africa”.

She said she was excited about the impact of the future of Africa on the world, including the United States.

“When I look at what is happening on this continent and the fact that the median age is 19 … and that tells us about the growth, of opportunity, of innovation, and of possibilities … I see in all of those great opportunities not only for the people of this continent but for the people of the world, especially when we understand that by the year 2050, one in four people on earth will be from Africa.

“So, I am here to address some of the issues that relate to the partnership between this continent, its people and the people of the United States, and to reinforce the work that we would continue to do together, be them on addressing the climate crisis, to supply chains and our work together in international rules and norms,” she stressed.

Reporting by Fred Dzakpata in Accra

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