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Jill Biden on weeklong tour of 3 African countries

Tuesday - 7/1/2014, 5:47pm  ET

FILE - This April 7, 2014 file photo shows Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Washington. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is highlighting female empowerment, education and leadership on a tour of three African countries this week. She is scheduled to arrive in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday. Biden is scheduled to be accompanied in Zambia by Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Stops also are planned in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone before Biden returns to Washington next week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

DARLENE SUPERVILLE
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is spending part of her summer vacation in Africa this week, highlighting female empowerment, education and leadership during stops in three countries.

She arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, on Tuesday, and was being accompanied on stops there by Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She is also traveling with Catherine Russell, the U.S. ambassador at-large for global women's issues, who will be with Biden for the entire trip.

Stops are also planned in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone before Biden returns to Washington next week.

The trip is a chance for Biden, a lifelong educator who teaches English twice a week at a Virginia community college, to highlight what happens when women and girls are empowered through education and entrepreneurship, administration officials said.

She'll also highlight success stories that are taking shape in the central and west African countries she is visiting on her third trip to the continent since Joe Biden became vice president. In Sierra Leone, for example, democracy is slowly being re-established after a brutal civil war from 1991-2002 that caused tens of thousands of deaths and displaced more than 2 million people, about one-third of the population.

During the week, Biden will meet with government and non-government leaders who specialize in women's issues, including economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, education, gender-based violence, and child and maternal health, the White House said.

The trip will also showcase U.S. involvement on the continent a month before dozens of leaders from across Africa arrive in Washington in early August for a summit scheduled to be hosted by President Barack Obama.

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