Kamala Harris set to unveil $1 billion plan in Ghana to promote women’s economic empowerment
Vice President Kamala Harris is set to unveil a $1 billion initiative to promote women’s economic empowerment in the country of Ghana, where she has spent several days touring and meeting with government officials.
“While we face real challenges, I look around tonight and I am truly more optimistic than ever,” Harris said at the presidential palace Monday evening during a toast at the state banquet.
The money is expected to come from a mix of nonprofit foundations, private companies and the federal government, and it’s intended to expand access to digital services, provide job training and support entrepreneurs, her office said.
The vice president added: “And I know that by working together, the United States and Ghana, alongside the diaspora and the people of this beautiful continent, will share and share our future for the better.”
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She has focused her efforts on Ghana’s economic development and its youth. The median age of all people across the African continent is 19 years old.
Harris, her husband, Doug Emhoff, and a group of celebrities have spent days meeting with thousands of young people, including children and teens at skate parks, recording studios, and other entertainment venues. They have also met with civil rights leaders and businesspeople.
Emhoff also spoke at an event and said the message was about “having confidence in yourself to know that you can do whatever you want to do in this world.”
Harris is scheduled to announce the plan during a meeting with six Ghanaian female entrepreneurs on Wednesday, March 29, her final day in Ghana before she travels to Tanzania and Zambia.
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She is the most senior member of the Biden administration to visit Africa, as Washington looks to build partnerships and bolster Africa’s growth amid global rivalry over the continent.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said Harris’ visit “encouraged” his country.
“We’re encouraged by the fact that more American companies than ever are looking to invest in Ghana,” Akufo-Addo said. “And we will continue to create and maintain the conducive investment atmosphere that will not only guarantee the safety of their investments, but good returns on those investments as well.”
Ghana faces skyrocketing inflation and growing debt that is being exacerbated by “pernicious developments” like the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We want to work together to change the African narrative, which has been characterized largely by a concentration on disease, hunger, poverty and illegal mass migration,” he said. “Together, we must help make Africa the place for investment, progress and prosperity.”
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The leaders also discussed job growth, especially among the youth.
“If we don’t find jobs — because that’s what it’s about — for this growing young population, it will be dangerous for the political stability on the continent,” said Rama Yade, the senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
The African Development Bank has estimated that there are about 11 million people entering the job market, although businesses have only created about 3 million jobs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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