Harris addresses youth at Black Star Square: US commits to fast-tracking African innovation …for economic growth

In a show of its commitment to the refreshed relations with Africa, the United States (US) is to partner the continent to fast-track African innovation, the US Vice President, Kamala Harris, has announced.

Addressing Ghanaian youth yesterday in Accra, she said investment in African ingenuity and creativity was key to unlock­ing incredible economic growth and opportunities for Africa and beyond.

• Vice President Kamala Harris (inset) addressing the public at the programme Photo: Victor A. Buxton

“The Biden-Harris adminis­tration and the American people stand ready to partner with you to help accelerate the innovation and entrepreneurship that is already underway,” she said.

The event which is part of the Vice President Harris’s three-day visit to Ghana brought the venue, the Black Star Gate, the symbol of Ghana’s independence, alive with cultural display, African music and colourful attires.

Long queues and security checks started at 8:00 a.m. ahead of the one-hour programme which started at 10:30 a.m. with cultural performances, and speeches from beneficiaries of US youth initiatives.

Present at the event were Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s Ambassador to the US; Hajia Alima Mahama, US Ambassador to Ghana; Virginia Palmer and beneficiaries of US youth initiatives and students from tertiary institutions.

The arrival of Vice Presi­dent Harris sent the crowd into frenzy as they cheered and waved miniature Ghana and US flags to welcome her to the podium for her keynote speech.

Vice President Harris said in­novation was important because it results in one’s ability to see things differently, new methods, prod­ucts, new approaches, new ideas, we innovate to be more effective and to solve problems.

Vice President Harris said inno­vation was helping to solve local and global challenges in Africa. “Youth leaders are dreamers and innovators. It is your creativity that will drive the future,” she said.

Ms Harris said there was the need for intentional efforts and partnership to make progress in three areas key to the focus of her visit —women empowerment, digital inclusion, good gover­nance and democracy to improve innovation.

She advocated that women should be included and participate equally in social, political and economic issues to unleash their full potential to maximise global growth, pledging to partner Africa to close gender gaps.

On digital inclusion, she an­nounced that her country would double its efforts to mobilise billions of dollars in private and public capitals to expand internet access to improve innovation and digital economy.

While stating the US com­mitment to the cause, she said the country was counting the public and private partnership as a collaboration that would lead to greater impact.

For Vice President Harris, whose visit ends today, good governance and democracy are key to achieve all the above.

She said the US had refreshed its relations with Africa because beyond the demographic dividend of the continent, the growth of both the US and Africa was dependent on each other, hence the need for a partnership based on mutual respect and shared benefits.


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