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Harris Stresses that U.S. Interests in African Nations Extends beyond Competing with China

If Vice President Kamala Harris has a favorite number on her trip to Africa, it’s undoubtedly 19. That’s the median age in Africa, and she repeats the fact at every opportunity. For Harris, it’s not a piece of trivia but the driving force behind the stepped-up U.S. outreach to African countries. Washington is racing to build partnerships on the oldest inhabited continent with the youngest population, a test that could reshape the economy in Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world. In the near future, “1 in 4 people on this Earth will be on this continent,” Harris said during a conversation with reporters. “Just on that alone — the demographics of it all alone — if you put aside the present and the past, if we are to be forward-looking in terms of national policies and priorities, we have to look at this continent.” Harris is the highest-profile member of President Joe Biden’s administration to visit Africa this year. While in Ghana, she paid particular attention to economic development and young people.