U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled a package of efforts — valued at more than $1 billion — designed to mitigate gender inequality in the global digital economy that includes contributions from Microsoft, Pfizer and other major corporate entities.
The package — released March 29 while Harris was in Ghana — contains $528 million in private-sector and philanthropic commitments aimed at advancing women’s economic well-being in Africa. An additional $400 million will be dedicated to furthering women’s participation in the industry.
Among the contributors to the overall initiative are the Visa Foundation, MasterCard, HP, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft Corp, and the Pfizer Foundation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African entrepreneurship nonprofit which alone contributed $500 million, as well as Kuramo Capital Management, Vista Bank Group and the African Women Impact Fund Initiative are also participating.
The effort also includes $60 million — $10 million of which will come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — to support programs that provide skills training and access to technology. Half of those resources will be concentrated in Africa, according to a fact sheet from the vice president’s office.
Women’s empowerment is a focus of Harris’s week-long trip to Africa, which also includes stops in Tanzania and Zambia.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also recently visited the continent, and President Joe Biden is expected to make a trip to the region later in 2023.
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