She met with six Ghanaian women entrepreneurs to speak about the prioritization of women in the progress of Africa, including inclusion and leadership.
The roundtable was a great addition to the trip as the end of Women’s History Month nears. Their engagement occurred at The Mix Design Hub, a woman-owned restaurant, gallery and co-working space.
Harris learned about each woman’s background and how they have established successful businesses. The participants spoke about the challenges they experienced opening their companies in Ghana and the opportunities and impact they’ve made on their communities.
Her last day in Ghana with the women came with the announcement of commitments of public and private funds worth over $1 billion to help close the gender gap in access to technology, education, development and any other assistance needed to help increase women’s stake in the economy of Africa.
The funds and programs announced were the final building blocks of initiatives launched at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December, including the Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative.
The initiative includes $60M to launch the Women in the Digital Economy Fund. It also outlined $400M in private sector commitments to support closing the gender digital divide.
$580M was committed to supporting women’s economic empowerment in Africa. The announcement detailed newly provided resources and other significant stockholders that will contribute funds and opportunities. This allotment also included funding allocated to advance gender equality across the continent.
The 19th shared portions of the vice president’s speech to the women as she rolled out the new initiatives:
She said, “The investments that I have outlined, we believe will help build a future where women are not just treated equally but are able to thrive, where women have the opportunity to lead, and a future simply put where there will be no barriers for the ability of women to participate in the economy, where they can enjoy freedom from violence and equal access to health care and education, and where they can shatter every glass ceiling.”
Harris continued, emphasizing the intention of all new programs is to increase women’s access to financial growth and inclusion.
“The focus here is on both: inclusion and leadership, understanding that women must have the opportunity and the access to all that is necessary to achieve their goals, their desires, their potential, to also lead.”
“I do believe the window is definitely open now, and I do believe that based on what we do now the window will continue to be open,” she stated. “But it will be a function of the investments that we make starting now to create the momentum that is necessary for this approach to endure.”
Since arriving in Ghana on Sunday, Harris has already announced several aid packages.
Packages and initiatives include $139 million for economic and cultural development in Ghana and a $100 million investment in coastal West African countries facing the risk of political violence.
Harris is unapologetic about using her global leadership position to advance the standing and status of women worldwide.
Whether on native soil or foreign land, in her travels and throughout her diplomatic and foreign policy engagements, the vice president deliberately and consistently advances gender policy issues.
When traveling overseas, she meets with and uplifts the voices of women and girls. Her diplomatic work on gender issues builds on her work throughout her career fighting for women and girls, complementing her domestic efforts on policy issues related to gender equity and equality.
Harris linked women’s equality to the promotion of democracy and security.
“When you create a system where rule of law is important, equal rights are defended and protected,” she said. “You will see greater empowerment of all people, including women, especially if they have been behind or you see extreme disparities. So there’s a correlation there and we’re going to continue to work on it knowing that they’re interconnected.”
In her travels to Tanzania and Zambia, Harris will continue to focus on gender equality, digital inclusion and democracy.