US VP launches $1bn for women empowerment

US Vice President Kamala Harris has unveiled a $1 billion initiative aimed at enhancing women’s economic empowerment in Africa. The announcement came during Harris’ trip to the continent, which included stops in Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia. The programme, which comprises both US government funding and private sector commitments, was unveiled in Ghana, where Harris also announced $139 million in development and culture assistance.

As part of the economic empowerment initiative, $60 million will be dedicated to a fund for women in the digital economy, while almost $400 million from the private sector will be used to address the gender digital divide. An additional $528 million in private sector financing will be provided to support women’s economic empowerment in Africa.

The US government aims to close the digital gap by improving digital access and affordability for women, promoting digital literacy and skills, and enhancing online security. Harris also visited Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle, where she laid a wreath in honour of those who died during the slave trade. She called for more investments in innovation in Africa during a speech in Accra, emphasising three areas of focus: women’s empowerment, the digital economy, and good governance and democracy.

Harris’ trip is part of the US government’s efforts to strengthen its relationship with African nations as it seeks to counter the influence of China and Russia on the continent. The tour builds on a summit held by President Joe Biden in Washington in December 2022, which brought together African leaders.

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