February 29, 2024

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield begins three-nation Africa tour in Ghana to strengthen ties and counter China and Russia ahead of Biden’s visit

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, reads a statement ahead on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ahead of Security Council consultations on Non-proliferation/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. With her are the Permanent Representatives of Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, met with Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Botchwey in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday, on the first leg of her three-nation Africa tour.

“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield thanked the Foreign Minister for Ghana’s continued strong partnership on the UN Security Council and they discussed their perspectives on Security Council reform,” U.S. Mission to the United Nations Spokesperson Nate Evans said in a readout.

Evans added that “the Ambassador also thanked the Foreign Minister for Ghana’s contributions to UN peacekeeping, including as a troop contributor to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Additionally, they agreed on the need to continue countering terrorism and violent extremism in Africa.”

Greenfield is traveling to Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya, starting January 25 to strengthen ties with the three African nations and push the controversial transition to the green economy, her office announced on Sunday.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. himself announced last month during the second U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington D.C. that he will visit sub-Saharan Africa in 2023, the first trip by a sitting U.S. president since then President Barack Obama visited a decade ago.

The U.S. Mission to the UN said in a statement on Sunday that Greenfield’s visit is to “affirm and strengthen our partnerships with key current and former U.N. Security Council members.”

She’s first visiting Ghana, where she will meet with women leaders and civil society representatives on January 25, the U.S. Mission said. Ghana is an elected member of the UN Security Council completing a two-year term.

She will then head to Mozambique, which unlike Ghana, is just starting its first-ever two-year term on the council.

The U.S. Mission to the UN added that during her visit, January 26-27, Thomas-Greenfield will meet with UN officials, alumni of U.S. exchange programs, international relations students, civil society and entrepreneurs.

From Mozambique, she will head to Kenya January 28-29, whose two-year term on the UN Security Council ended on December 31.

In Kenya, Thomas-Greenfield’s visit will focus on humanitarian programs, including the regional response to drought and assistance to refugees, her office said.

It added that the visit will also focus on “the impact Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to have on global food security, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region.”

She will also meet refugees pending resettlement in the United States and Kenya-based entrepreneurs who are leading “the country’s transition to a green economy.”

The visits by Greenfield and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen who is on a three-nation, 10-day Africa tour are part of President Biden’s attempt to strengthen ties with the continent and counter China and Russia.

During his remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC last December, President Biden announced new investments focused on boosting infrastructure and trade and countering the growing influence of China and Russia.

He said that the U.S. will support innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, and that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is investing $370 million in the continent to increase access to clean energy and supply farmers with fertilizers and help companies that bring water to communities.

In addition, Biden announced a new initiative to allow Africa participate in the digital economy that would include collaborations between Viasat and Microsoft to bring internet access to at least five million people in Africa.

He added, “I proposed this initiative together with the rest of the G7 to help fill the need for quality, high-standard infrastructure in Africa and in low-income and middle-income countries around the world.  And at the G7 meeting earlier this year, we announced our intention to collectively mobilize $600 billion in the next five years.

“Today’s announcements joint — join a portfolio of Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment projects already underway in Africa, including mobilizing $8 billion in public and private finance to help South Africa replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources and develop cutting-edge energy solutions like clean hydrogen; a deal worth $2 billion to build solar energy projects in Angola; $600 million in high-speed telecommunications cable that will connect Southeast Asia to Europe via Egypt and the Horn of Africa and help bring high-speed Internet connectivity to countries all along the way,” added Biden.

In Washington on Tuesday, responding to concerns and perceptions that Africa is again being used as a battlefield for a proxy war between East and West, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the U.S. partnership in Africa is not about other nations. 

She said, “As demonstrated by our commitments at the U.S.- Africa Leaders’ Summit, the United States sees African countries as genuine partners and wants to build relationship based on mutual respect. That’s what you saw at the summit.  And that’s what the President has been consistent on, and that’s what we want to see. 
 
“Our focus is on Africa and our efforts to strengthen these partnerships across a wide range of sectors spanning from businesses to health to peace and security. Building on those efforts, we’ve had Secretary Blinken and Secretary Yellen travel to the region very recently. 
 
“And as you noted, we have Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s upcoming travel to Ghana, Mozambique, and Kenya.  And that’s going to be from January 25th to the 29th. 
 
“The Ambassador’s — this is going to be the Ambassador’s third trip to the Sub-Saharan Africa.  And since she took up her position as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, she’s gone three times under this current tenure that she’s currently doing. 
 
“And you will continue to see us following through the President’s commitment and to step — and to step up our engagement across Africa this year and beyond. 
 
“And, look, this is a commitment.  We saw it when we put the summit together with 49, 50 heads of states who were here, right here in D.C.  And that was over three days. 
 
“And the President participated in the summits, his team participated in the summit, and we talked about issues that really mattered to the continent and issues that really mattered to us as well.”

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