Harris Launches $1 Billion Fund to Empower Women Visiting Ghana

Vice President Harris on Wednesday announced a global initiative to support women in business, announcing $1 billion in funding from the private sector and government investment.

The White House released details of the initiative during Harris’ final day in Ghana, the first stop on a three-country visit to Africa. A significant portion of the funding will go towards improving economic opportunities for women on the continent.

“Improving the economic status of women and girls is not just a matter of human rights, justice and fairness – it is also a strategic imperative that reduces poverty and promotes sustainable economic growth, improves access to education, improves health and political Stability fosters and fosters democracy,” the White House said in a statement.

Harris will host a roundtable with women entrepreneurs in Ghana on Wednesday to discuss economic empowerment and inclusion and to highlight the initiative.

The announcement includes $528 million in private sector pledges to support women’s economic empowerment in Africa with investments from Vista Bank Group, Kuramo Capital Management, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the African Women Impact Fund Initiative (AWIF). supported by the Standard Bank group.

Private sector groups are also committing $400 million specifically to help close the digital gender divide. The White House found that by 2022 about 260 million more men would be using the internet than women, a gap particularly wide in Africa.

The digital efforts are funded by companies such as Mastercard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and the Visa Foundation.

The money will be used to improve access to digital finance and other online services and to “address social norms that prevent women from fully participating in the digital economy,” the White House statement said.

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Other investments announced Wednesday include $47 million for U.S. government initiatives to advance gender equality across Africa through increased women’s participation in political, economic and social affairs and $60 million from the U.S. agency for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address the gender digital divide worldwide.

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Harris will leave Ghana for Tanzania on Wednesday and travel to Zambia later this week before returning to Washington, DC

While in Ghana, Harris toured an old slave-trading post and made emotional remarks reflecting on the need to learn from history.

Harris on Monday announced $100 million in funding to support conflict prevention and stabilization efforts in the region, aimed at combating violent extremism and other forms of instability that threaten key democratic allies on West Africa’s coast.

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