During her visit to Zambia, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has called on China to cancel Zambia’s debt and pledged to provide the country with billions of dollars in aid.
Harris arrived at a newly-built $1 billion airport in Lusaka, which serves as a reminder of China’s vast influence in the country, as it is Zambia’s largest bilateral creditor.
The Zambian government has taken measures to strengthen its economy, and Harris believes they should be supported with debt relief. The U.S. government has reiterated its call on official bilateral creditors to provide meaningful debt reduction to Zambia.
Harris’s visit to Zambia aims to strengthen existing relations between the two countries, not to counter China’s presence in Africa. She has emphasized that good relations with the United States and China do not preclude each other. Harris also took time to visit the site of her maternal grandfather’s home in Lusaka, who lived there as an Indian public servant in the 1960s.
China has expanded its footprint on the African continent by funding infrastructure projects, such as the airport, a 60,000-seat stadium, roads, and bridges, generating goodwill among citizens. Washington is concerned that Africa is slipping further into Beijing’s sphere of influence, and Harris’s trip aims to build partnerships independent of geopolitical competition.
She has acknowledged that there is a window for American investments on the continent, and her visit to Zambia celebrates her childhood ties to the country.