US VP Harris Exhorts African Youth and Diaspora to Reinforce US-Africa Ties

On 13 December 2022 at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, US VP Kamala Harris delivered the keynote speech at the African Diaspora and Young Leaders Forum as part of the 2nd US-Africa Leaders Summit (#UALS2).

Several hundred graduates of the Young African Leaders Initiative (#YALI) and the African diaspora were present at a venue deliberately chosen to highlight that the US has an African American component. VP Harris even went on to point out that the architecture of the museum takes its inspiration from Yoruba art from West Africa.

Africa enjoys a strong population advantage and a very attractive youth dividend. Actually, 60% of the one billion people in Africa is under 25 and by 2059, that figure will grow to amount to 1.2 billion of youth, full of dreams, energy and potential.

Africa has thus become one of the top places for startups and innovation. To acceleration the digital transition, the USA will launch the Digital Transformation initiative for Africa.

The US will enhance the YALI program which trained of more than 640,000 young Africans. In the new phase, YALI will receive additional funding of USD 100 million to promote capacity building and leverage on the alumni network to produce positive social and business impact in Africa.

In the same vein, the USA will re-launch the African Women Entrepreneurship Program to provide micro-financing to women to support their ventures and assist them to become financially independent. A significant number of SME in Africa are operated by women.

On the diaspora front, President Biden plans to sign an Executive Order for the setting up of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement.