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Harris to pledge support for African innovation in Ghana

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris will pledge a new era of partnership with Africa on Tuesday when she speaks from Black Star Gate, which commemorates Ghana’s independence from colonialism.

The speech on her second full day in Ghana is part of a weeklong trip that will include visits to Tanzania and Zambia. Harris is the most high-profile member of President Joe Biden’s administration to visit Africa as the U.S. escalates its outreach to the continent.

“Together, we will address the challenges we face, and the opportunities ahead,” she says in excerpts from the speech provided by her office.

Much of the vice president’s remarks will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, part of her effort to spotlight Africa as a place for American private-sector investment. It’s something that Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said he hopes to see after years of being overlooked.

“We want to be able to change that dynamic,” Akufo-Addo said when he met with Harris on Monday.

After the speech, Harris planned to tour the Cape Coast Castle, a seaside fort where enslaved Africans were loaded onto ships bound for the Americas. Harris also planned to deliver remarks there.

U.S. outreach is part of the global competition over Africa’s future, with China and Russia each defending their own interests in the continent as well. But Harris has been careful to play down the role of geopolitical rivalries during her travels here.

For her speech on Tuesday, Harris says in prepared remarks, “America will be guided not by what we can do for our African partners, but what we can do with our African partners.”

On Monday evening, Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, attended a banquet dinner hosted by Akufo-Addo. In addition to officials from both countries, American celebrities, businesspeople and civil rights leaders also attended.

Guests included actors Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson and director Spike Lee.

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