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Kamala Harris Ghana trip ends, pledges $1B to advance women's economic participation

Kamal Harris, US Vice President   -  
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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Wednesday in Ghana a $1 billion initiative to improve women's economic empowerment in Africa as she wrapped up the first leg of her tour of the continent.

Harris' office unveiled the program, largely funded by the private sector, in the capital Accra. The U.S. vice president then left Ghana for Tanzania.

Scheduled to last until April 2, her tour of Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia comes on the heels of a December U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, D.C., where President Joe Biden called for a broad partnership with Africa as the U.S. seeks to assert its presence on the continent in the face of growing influence from China and Russia.

Harris has already announced several aid packages, including $139 million for economic and cultural development in Ghana and a $100 million investment in coastal West African countries facing the risk of spillover jihadist violence from the Sahel.

The African Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative includes nearly $400 million from the private sector "to help bridge the gender digital divide."

"Improving the economic status of women and girls is not only a matter of human rights, justice and equity, it is also a strategic imperative that reduces poverty and promotes sustainable economic growth," the U.S. vice president's office said.

More than $500 million, again from the private sector, will also be used to support women's economic empowerment in Africa, the statement said.

On Tuesday, the vice president called for more investment in innovation in Africa, particularly in the digital economy, good governance and democracy.

"We're +all-in on Africa," she added, repeating the words of Joe Biden during the U.S.-Africa summit last year.

Ms. Harris is expected later this week in Zambia, the last stop on her Africa tour.

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