WINDHOEK (Reuters) – U.S. first lady Jill Biden has arrived in Namibia on the first stop on a five-day Africa tour, part of a push by the United States to strengthen its ties on the continent.

Biden landed at the airport in Namibia’s capital Windhoek on Wednesday afternoon before heading to Heroes’ Acre, a war memorial, with the first lady of Namibia.

Her trip will focus on education, health and empowering youth and women, she said in a statement on social media. After Namibia she will go to Kenya where she will hear from those affected by drought and food insecurity, she said.

The Biden administration is planning a slew of high-level visits to Africa this year in an effort to counter the influence of China and Russia on the continent.

South Africa is currently hosting a joint naval exercise with Russia and China, a move the country says is routine but which has alarmed the United States and other Western partners.

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It is Jill Biden’s first trip to Africa as first lady.

(Reporting by Siphiwe Sibeko; Additional reporting and writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexander Winning and Alison Williams)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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