Our administration will be guided not by what we can do for Africa but what we can do with Africa - Vice President Kamala Harris

US Vice President Kamala Harris. Picture: Robert Galbraith Reuters

US Vice President Kamala Harris. Picture: Robert Galbraith Reuters

Published Dec 14, 2022


Speaking at the African and Diaspora Young Leaders’ Forum at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, US Vice President Kamala Harris has announced a host of new investments into Africa’s youth development.

Harris announced a new investment of $100 million “which we will expand networking for African youth alumni and connect them with social impact and business investors”.

Speaking at the young leaders’ forum on Tuesday Harris said the Biden administration will invest their time and energy to fortify partnerships across Africa.

“Africa cannot help but be in the future business. I strongly believe that the creativity and ingenuity of Africa’s young leaders will help us shape the future of the world, and that their ideas — your ideas — and innovations and initiatives will benefit the entire world.”

Harris said that within the next two years, the Biden administration would have invested more than $1 billion in education and youth programming in Africa, which will allow the administration to further its partnership with African academic institutions and the private sector on education and research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Harris said that the investment will allow the administration to expand its signature programme for African youth, the Young African Leaders’ Initiative, also known at YALI.

The YALI programme sees fellows travel to colleges and universities in the United States for six weeks to study. They also study business, civic engagement, or public management.

“We also developed YALI Regional Leadership Centres to provide a similar experience at higher education institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa. Through these experiences, these leaders join a continent-wide network of young leaders.”

Harris added that currently more than 640 000 young Africans participate in the YALI network.

She further said that this week, the United States Export-Import Bank will be entering into a new memoranda of understanding with entities in Sub-Saharan Africa whereby the US will provide more than $1 billion to finance American commercial investment in Africa.

“This, we know and believe, will create jobs and opportunities in various sectors, and in particular, the renewable energy sector, in agriculture, water and sanitation, and infrastructure.

“In addition, we will launch The African Women’s Trade and Investment Initiative, a new programme which will help women across Africa participate in e-commerce, and access financing and export markets.”

Harris said the US government will also re-launch the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme to provide micro-financing to women to support their ambitions and their aspirations.

According to Harris, President Joe Biden will also sign an executive order to create the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States.

“This council will provide advice and recommendations to the president to strengthen the ties between the people of Africa and the people of America.”

Harris said that throughout history, in moments of uncertainty and change, the world has often turned to young people to help lead the way forward. Now is no different.

“So to Africa’s young leaders, I say: I am an optimist about what lies ahead for Africa and, by extension, for the world because of you — because of your energy, your ambition, and your ability to transform seemingly intractable problems into opportunities. Simply put: your ability to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.”