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VP Kamala Harris Unveils Ambitious Plan to Connect 80% of Africa to the Internet by 2030

Vice President Kamala Harris has announced a new partnership aimed at providing internet access to 80% of Africa by 2030, a substantial increase from the current 40%.

This initiative is a follow-up to her visit to the continent last year and coincides with Kenyan President William Ruto’s visit to Washington this week.

Harris and Ruto were scheduled to discuss the potential of public-private partnerships in driving economic growth at a fireside chat at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The new partnership is part of Harris’ commitment to promoting digital innovation, which she emphasized during her visits to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Africa has long struggled to attract the necessary capital to develop its industrial and technological sectors. Despite accounting for 18% of the global population, the continent received only 3.5% of foreign direct investment worldwide in 2022, totaling $45 billion, down from a record high of $80 billion in 2021.

To address this, Harris is launching the nonprofit Partnership for Digital Access in Africa to improve internet access. Additionally, she is introducing the Mobilising Access to the Digital Economy Alliance (MADE), which aims to provide digital access to 100 million African people and businesses in the agricultural sector.

The African Development Bank Group and Mastercard are among the organisations partnering on this initiative, which will begin with a pilot program providing digital access to 3 million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria before expanding to other countries.

Furthermore, Harris announced that the Women in the Digital Economy efforts to address the gender divide in technology access have generated over $1 billion in public and private commitments, with some U.S. commitments pending congressional approval.

This plan has the potential to transform the digital landscape in Africa, promoting economic growth, innovation, and inclusivity. By increasing internet access and providing digital opportunities to millions of Africans, Harris’ initiative can help bridge the gap and create a more connected and equitable world.

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