President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Washington on a working visit where he will meet Vice President Kamala Harris and future US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday.

The leaders of the two countries will meet at the White House to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, including trade and investment, climate change, food security, energy, peace and security.

Ramaphosa will also meet congressional leaders and members of the anti-apartheid lobby while in the United States capital before heading to London to attend the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.

Although it is a short visit, the issues are important and discussions are expected to focus on global security, the economy, trade and investment, climate mitigation and adaptation, and public health.

On Friday, Ramaphosa will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris before a lunch meeting with President Biden at the White House.

A joint press conference between the leaders has been suggested but not confirmed with further guidance expected from the presidency.

President Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya says: β€œSouth Africa and the United States have a historic and cordial relationship. The US is a major export market for South Africa, a significant source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and a partner in technology transfer, development assistance and tourism.”

Ramaphosa was expected to travel to New York for a high-level meeting of the General Assembly, but that too remains unclear after the Queen’s funeral.

Meanwhile, senior director of the Atlantic Council and former French ambassador to UNESCO, Rama Yade, says the US needs to change its policy on Africa: “Sometimes we have the feeling that Africa is interesting, from Washington’s point of view, only interesting when we talk about Russia or China. The challenge, as well as the opportunity, is how the US can change its policy toward Africa. This is the best answer that can be given to Chinese investors – just improve your policies and you will see that you will have no competition on the African continent.”

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