Harris visits site of grandfather’s home in Zambia
Vice President Harris on Friday visited the site of her grandfather’s home while in Zambia on a trip that she said had special significance for her.
She traveled to the land where the house was when her grandfather worked and lived in Zambia in the 1960s. The structure is no longer there, but U.S. Embassy staff in Zambia, working with the vice president’s office, located the spot.
The Zambian Ministry of Lands then was able to identify 16 Independence Avenue as the Gopalan family home, which is Harris’s maternal side of the family, as recorded in a public lands document dated March 9, 1967, according to the vice president’s office.
“My grandfather was one of my favorite people,” Harris told reporters after the visit. “I was the eldest grandchild, and so I got the benefit and the blessing of a lot of time with him.”
She added that her grandfather believed in the “nobility of public service” and in “fighting corruption.”
“I don’t think, until I was older, I realized how that just subconsciously influenced the way I think in a very strong way,” the vice president said. “So, it was special.”
At the site, Elizabeth Norikane, a political and economic associate at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, told Harris that the structure on the land is currently used as an office space. The vice president’s office said it now belongs to Zambian companies.
“For the past year I’ve been looking for this spot,” Norikane said.
Harris arrived in Zambia earlier on Friday and participated in a bilateral meeting with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema at the presidential palace.
“For you, this is like a homecoming,” Hichilema told Harris ahead of the meeting.
Later on Friday, Harris visited the National Assembly of Zambia, which she had gone to as a child. She then went to the U.S. Embassy.
Harris on Friday announced more than $7 billion in private sector investments and U.S. government funding for Zambia.
Those funds are intended to increase climate resilience and are expected to aid millions of farmers on the continent and address food insecurity.
Among other investments, SunCulture, a solar irrigation company, will commit to using $100 million in private capital to install 274,000 solar irrigation systems on smaller African farms over the next five years.
Additionally, the U.S. government will commit nearly $10 million to build and maintain weather stations in Africa over the next 10 years, meant to provide better forecasting to benefit agriculture, sanitation and climate programs on the continent.
The announcement built on roughly $1 billion Harris announced in Ghana intended to empower women’s economic opportunities on the continent, as well as $100 million in security and economic assistance for West Africa.
Brett Samuels contributed to this report.
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