US’ Kamala Harris announces $16M support for Zambia to fight corruption

US Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off a visit to Zambia on Friday, announcing a support package for the Southern African nation to fight corruption and promote good governance.

“I am pleased to announce more than $16 million in a new program for Zambia, including a focus on anti-corruption and other reform efforts,” Harris told a joint press conference in the capital Lusaka with her host, President Hakainde Hichilema.

Harris arrived in Lusaka past midday, after a series of tours in Ghana and Tanzania, and her visit came after a day after Zambia co-hosted the second Summit for Democracy along with the US, Netherlands, Korea, and Costa Rica.

She said the summit was critical for Africa in cementing its democratic tenets to promote good governance on the continent.

Zambia is the last stop on a three-nation, weeklong African tour for Harris, the US’ first biracial vice president, of mixed Black and Asian heritage.

Harris also made a pledge to help Africa’s number two copper producer restructure its more than $13 billion external debt under the G-20 framework supported by an IMF program.

Hichilema expressed concern that the debt overhang was negating strides by his administration to reconstruct the country’s economy, two years after he took over office.

He asked Harris to help push the G-20 to help restructure Zambia’s debt so that his country can attract more foreign investment.

Taking questions from reporters, the duo brushed speculation that their meeting was centered on discussing China’s influence on China.

“We squarely focused on further deepening Zambia-US ties and how we can work together for the mutual benefit of our people,” Harris said.

Hichilema said his administration had chosen the route of economic diplomacy, which includes working unconditionally with both Washington and Beijing, adding that the world’s two largest economies must work together for the benefit of the least-developed world.

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