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Published on May 24, 2024
Vice President Harris Announces Major Initiatives to Boost Digital Inclusion in AfricaSource: Wikipedia/

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Vice President Kamala Harris has announced a line-up of public and private sector partnerships aimed at increasing digital inclusion across Africa. During previous visits to countries like Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia, she stressed the importance of tech innovation in the continent, "African ideas and innovations will shape the future of the world…. And so we must invest in the African ingenuity and creativity, which will unlock incredible economic growth and opportunities," Harris said in a statement.

The recent commitments, as part of the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiative and coordinated by the Department of Commerce, saw the announcement of the Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy (MADE) Alliance: Africa in partnership with groups like the African Development Bank Group and Mastercard. The alliance aims to expand digital access to essential services for 100 million people and businesses over the next decade. Economic and tech giants like Microsoft, and nonprofits such as Heifer International have also pledged to reach millions with digital infrastructure and skills training.

A new enterprise known as the Partnership for Digital Access in Africa (PDAA) was formed with goals to double the number of Africans connected to the internet by 2030, from 40% to 80%, and specifically to increase connectivity for women and girls. PDAA plans to drive down the costs of broadband and devices, and to enhance digital skills amongst the populace featuring allies like SpaceX and the African Leadership Group.

Another significant development is the growth of the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF), launched by Harris in 2023, which has now amassed over $1 billion in commitments to elevate gender digital equality. USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, among many other private and public entities have made substantial contributions aimed at supporting women's inclusion in the digital space. "These new partnerships and investments will expand opportunities, reduce inequality,, and foster growth across the continent," said Vice President Harris.

The commitment from these partnerships is crucial for closing the digital divide in Africa where significant disparities in access to technology still exist, particularly among women, rural populations, and low-income groups. These initiatives will jointly aim at building sustainable growth and providing the necessary digital tools and training that can make a substantial difference in the livelihoods of millions in Africa.