While U.S. media focuses on the Mango Mussolini indictment, African media outlets are reporting on the excitement and attention generated by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to the continent. Harris has spent the second leg of her visit in Tanzania. She arrived at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere Airport to an enthusiastic welcome Wednesday night, met by Vice President Philip Mpango, to the sound of cheers, drumming, singing, and dancing. A line-up of women greeted Harris, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with her picture, and wrap skirts imprinted with the picture of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the first woman to hold that office.
She met with President Hassan on Thursday and announced new U.S. initiatives. Harris departs from Tanzania today, headed to Zambia.
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Here was the scene at the airport for her arrival:
Her visit made headlines:
“Karibu” is a Swahili word meaning “welcome.” It was amazing to see city buses plastered with her picture and a welcome message.
In anticipation of her visit, Alex Nelson Malanga, business journalist for The Citizen, wrote about the meaning of her visit:
Expectations are high that the coming of the US second in command will bolster ties with Tanzania in areas such as trade, tourism, education, health, agriculture, environment, information and communication technology (ICT), as well as security and defence.
The visit comes almost 11 months after President Samia Suluhu Hassan visited the US, where, among others, she also met with Ms Harris on April 15, 2022, where the two leaders pledged strong ties between the two nations. During the tour, various US companies pledged almost $1 billion in investments to Tanzania.
Startups and innovation stakeholders say the coming of Ms Harris means a lot to them, particularly because the US Vice President will, among other things, meet with the Tanzania Startup Association (TAS) and speak with youth and emerging entrepreneurs.
AfricaNews reported on Harris’ bold stances:
Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania's first female president, has undone some of the country's more oppressive policies, such as a ban on opposition rallies, even though she came to power as a member of the ruling party.
She's finishing out the term of President John Magufuli, who died in office and earned a reputation for stamping out dissent, arresting critics and forcing them into exile. Hard-liners have been uncomfortable with some of Hassan's changes, however, which could cost her in the next election two years from now.
Harris, the first woman to serve as U.S. vice president, will meet with Hassan on Thursday, a noteworthy show of support from Washington as the United States deepens its outreach to Africa. "There's so much excitement here and people are saying it's like Madam President's efforts in changing the country are being rewarded with recognition from an economic and political superpower that is the U.S.," said Tanzania-based analyst Mohamed Issa Hemed.
Isaac Mugabi reported for AFP/Reuters:
Comparing her to her predecessor John Magufuli, Harris described Hassan as a "champion" of democracy. "There is so much potential for growth here," Harris said.
Hassan is finishing out the term of Magufuli, who earned a reputation for stamping out dissent, arresting critics, and forcing them into exile before he died in office. Therefore, the meeting between Hassan and Harris, the first woman to serve as US vice president, was a noteworthy show of support from Washington as the United States deepens its outreach to Africa.
Hassan has undone some of Tanzania's more oppressive policies even though she came to power as a member of the ruling party. However, hard-liners have been uncomfortable with some of Hassan's changes, which could cost her in the next election two years from now.
Errin Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th, who has been covering every step of the trip, wrote about the meeting between President Hassan and Vice President Harris. Hassan is the only female head of government in any of Africa’s 54 countries:
Women’s inclusion and, more importantly, leadership in politics as a cornerstone for democracy and prosperity have been themes of Harris’ week-long trip to the African continent, which she is visiting for the first time since becoming the first woman and African American to serve as the country’s second-most-powerful person.
Before Harris and Hassan met, Veronica Ndege Charles and Kemilembe Kamala, both 22, waited outside of the State House to participate in the welcome ceremony. They were among the dozens of women who had gathered Wednesday night to greet Harris at the airport in Dar es Salaam, wearing hats and T-shirts with a photo of Harris and a wrap skirt with a picture of Hassan.
Charles said it “means a lot” for her country to have its first woman president. “She’s encouraging us to take every opportunity so we can raise our living standards. So she’s good for us,” Charles said.
Kamala was excited to meet the vice president. They share a name and a position — the university student is also vice president of her student government. A public administration major with her own political ambitions, Kamala said she hopes “something good” comes from Harris’ trip.
The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania posted a series of tweets, including links to Harris’ meetings.
A key part of the joint press conference with President Hassan was Harris’ announcement of plans to build a nickel processing factory.
The press coverage of their joint meeting has video; however, the VOA audio is terrible, so here is the full transcript.
I loved seeing this photo of Harris and Hassan sharing a moment.
There were solemn moments on the visit as well, such as when Vice President Harris visited the Tanzania Embassy Bombing Memorial.
The vice president’s next stop: Zambia.