March 26, 2023

Jill Biden traveling to Kenya and Namibia this week to strengthen U.S.-Africa ties

First Lady Jill Biden participates in a roundtable event on military spouse economic opportunity, Monday, January 30, 2023, at the Soldier and Family Resource Center at Fort Drum, New York. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)
First Lady Jill Biden participates in a roundtable event on military spouse economic opportunity, Monday, January 30, 2023, at the Soldier and Family Resource Center at Fort Drum, New York. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

The United States First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will be traveling to Namibia and Kenya this week to strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

She is the most senior official to visit Africa since her husband, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn into office more than two years ago.

Dr. Biden’s trip, February 22-26, builds on last year’s U.S.-Africa Summit and is “another demonstration of President Biden’s commitment in the United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa,” the official said.

The trip follows Secretary Janet Yellen visits in Senegal, Gambia, South Africa and Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield stop in Mozambique, Kenya and Somalia a few weeks ago, and comes ahead of Biden’s planned trip to the continent later this year.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attend the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, Sunday, May 15, 2022, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

On why she chose to visit Kenya and Namibia, the official said that “Dr. Biden’s choice of destinations reflects President Biden’s intent to engage with countries across the continent and deepening our ties on a range of issues.”

“Namibia is one of the continents long standing democracies one of only eight classified as free according to Freedom House,” the official said, noting that President Hage Geingob is the chairperson of the South African development communities working on politics, defense and security cooperation, and that he plays an important role in overseeing the region’s response to political and security crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the upcoming Zimbabwe elections.

Dr. Biden is the most senior US official to visit Namibia since Vice President Al Gore made a brief stop in 1996.

On Kenya, the official said that the East African nation last year included an important election, which led to the inauguration of its fifth president William Ruto.

“We work closely with Kenya on peace and security challenges in Somalia, Ethiopia and Eastern Congo as well as global issues during his two year stint on the UN Security Council, which ended last year and he has an attractive destination for US investment in a country where we are expanding our trade relations through strategic through the strategic Trade and Investment Partnership. And he is also dealing with the devastating challenges of food insecurity resulting from the failed rains in the Horn of Africa and worsened by Russia’s war against Ukraine,” the official said.

The official added that Dr. Biden will have an opportunity “to engage on a number of these issues as well as deepen our people to people ties.”

The official highlighted some of the challenges the world faces, concluding that they cannot be successfully dealt with without Africa’s contribution.

The official added, “The world faces major challenges, including stresses caused by climate change, the lingering impact of the pandemic and the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for food security, and our shelter in our shared values. We believe African governments and people will and must be at the table for these consequential discussions. We can’t succeed without African participation and leadership.

“The region, in other words is a major geopolitical player. Not a subject of geopolitics are a junior partner. Let me just add some basic facts to underscore this point. Africa is the fastest growing and youngest region in the world. One out of every four people will be African by 2050. The continent has established the largest free trade area since the founding of the WTO with a nominal GDP larger than India.

“It contains the world’s second largest rainforest and 30% of the critical minerals that power our modern world. It sits astride major sea lines of communication and trade in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and the region’s global influence is growing initiative three non permanent seats to the UN Security Council and representing one of the largest regional blocs.”

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5 days ago

You showed more decorum and professionalism than anyone in the US press room today. Karine Jean-Pierre is a bought and paid for liar and has no regard for what the people of the US nor our brothers and sisters around the world are entitled to know. She indeed is a disgrace and a real danger to liberty and justice for all.
May God bless you and guide you in your pursuit of truth.

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