By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Vice President Kamala Harris’ historic trip to Africa continued with the launch of global initiatives on the economic empowerment of women, totaling more than $1 billion.
America’s first Black and female vice president spoke fervently during the trip about how “immensely powerful and moving,” the visit to the Motherland was.
She further was moved while visiting Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle, where the vice president reflected on the painful horrors of where heartless slave owners captured their prey.
“The horror of what happened here must always be remembered,” Harris stated. “It cannot be denied. It must be taught. History must be learned.”
Harris and President Joe Biden have made outreach to Africa an important initiative of the administration.
In addition to Ghana, the vice president visited Tanzania and Zambia.
In each country, Harris touted investments that would bring economic and gender equity to Africa.
The vice president convened a roundtable with several African women business owners where the discussion centered on how America and private-sector businesses could form a partnership with African nations that would advance gender equality.
“Advancing the economic status of women and girls is not only a matter of human rights, justice, and fairness — it is also a strategic imperative that reduces poverty and promotes sustainable economic growth, increases access to education, improves health outcomes, advances political stability, and fosters democracy.”
The digital gender gap undermines women’s full participation in the 21st-century economy, officials asserted.
Globally, approximately 260 million more men than women were using the internet in 2022 — and this gap has increased by 20 million in the last three years.
The gap is especially acute across Africa, where International Telecommunication Union data show that 66% of women do not use the internet.
To address this disparity, Harris pledged that the administration would continue to work with other governments, private sector, foundations, and multilateral organizations to help close the digital divide, improve meaningful access to equitable digital finance and other online services, and address social norms that prevent women from participating fully in the digital economy.
More broadly, the Biden-Harris administration would continue to promote the economic empowerment of women, the vice president stated.
In support of those goals, Harris announced a series of investments and initiatives that total $1 billion.
She also made a series of announcements to foster women’s political, economic, and social inclusion in Africa, building upon initiatives launched at the U.S.-Africa Leaders
Summit in December 2022, including the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) Initiative.
Harris made clear that education remains key.
She hammered home that point as a message to Republican governors who continue to ban history in school curriculums.
“All these stories must be told in a way that we take from this place — the pain we all feel, the anguish that reeks from this place,” Harris reflected as she traversed Cape Coast Castle.
“And we then carry the knowledge that we have gained here toward the work that we do in lifting up all people, in recognizing the struggles of all people, of fighting for, as the walls of this place talk about, justice and freedom for all people, human rights for all people,” she said. “So, that’s what I take from being here.
She also emphasized that while there is tragedy in the history of the Cape Coast Castle, the ancestors would be proud of their lineage.
“The descendants of the people who walked through that door were strong people, proud people, people of deep faith; people who loved their families, their traditions, their culture, and carried that innate being with them through all of these periods; went on to fight for civil rights, fight for justice in the United States of America and around the world.
“And all of us, regardless of your background, have benefited from their struggle and their fight for freedom and for justice.”
Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience.