Promoting gender equity and equality is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in Africa and around the world. 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.
In particular, the digital gender gap undermines women’s full participation in the 21st century economy. 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 sixty-six percent of women do not use the internet.
To address this disparity, the Biden-Harris Administration will 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 will continue to promote the economic empowerment of women.
In support of these goals, in Accra, Ghana, the Vice President is announcing a series of investments and initiatives—from the U.S. government, and in response to her call for investment from the private sector, and philanthropic community. The Vice President is also making a series of announcements on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration 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.
$60M to Launch the Women in the Digital Economy Fund: The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are announcing a new fund to accelerate closing the gender digital divide, with a combined investment of $60 million, at least half of which will focus on Africa.
Nearly $400M in Private Sector Commitments to Support Closing the Gender Digital Divide: These commitments, totaling nearly $400 million, support the key pillars guiding the work of the U.S. government to close the Gender Digital Divide.
$528M in Private Sector Commitments to Support of Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa: These commitments, totaling over $528 million, support gender programming more broadly.
$47M U.S. Government Initiatives to Advance Gender Equality Across Africa: These initiatives, totaling over $47 million, represent new announcements and initiatives on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration 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.
Source: The White House