Kamala Harris Promises to Help 80% of Africa Get Internet Access by 2030

Vice President Kamala Harris announced a collaboration to link 80% of Africa and improve internet access by 40% throughout the continent. 

The partnership extends her commitment to accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, which she outlined during her visit last year. Harris has pledged to enhance connectivity for women and girls by 50% and link 1 billion people in Africa to the Internet by 2030 under the Partnership for Digital Access in Africa program.

Harris highlighted the potential for economic growth in Africa, citing its median age of 19 as an indication of the region’s potential. However, funding for Africa’s industrial and technical development has been elusive, with FDI in Africa dropping to $45 billion in 2022 from $80 billion the previous year. Despite being home to almost 18% of the world’s population, Africa received just 3.5% of all FDI.

The Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy Alliance, a cooperation between Mastercard and the African Development Bank Group, will invest $300 million into building a digital infrastructure for three million farmers across three African nations.

Farmers in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya will be the first to get access to digital resources under a trial initiative run by the alliance.

According to Harris, a Democrat, and the first female U.S. vice president, over $1 billion in public and private commitments have been generated through the Women in the Digital Economy initiatives to close the gender gap in technology access. Some federal commitments are still waiting for congressional approval.

Harris also launched a program to connect an additional 100 million farmers and agricultural enterprises in Africa to the internet, with the African Development Bank Group and Mastercard among the many groups that will come together to establish MADE. 

In addition to promising economic growth and new jobs, the fast development of total digital capacity has the potential to improve gender equity, healthcare, food security, climate action, cultural advancements, trade between African countries and their global partners, and overall progress.