The Biden administration launched an initiative that will provide Africa with $350 million to expand digital access and literacy and strengthen digital environments across the continent.
In a statement, the White House said it will work with Congress to provide the sum as well as an additional $450 million in loan financing.
The initiative will be led by federal agencies including the State Department, USAID, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the Department of Commerce. It consists of three pillars: supporting the digital economy and infrastructure, developing human capital and supporting a digital enabling environment.
It is intended to support the organic growth of civil, government and private sector technologies, as well as increased harmonization of technology policy across the continent.
“With new technologies transforming the way Africans live and work, [Digital Transformation with Africa] DTA will foster an inclusive and resilient African digital ecosystem, led by African communities and built on an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet,” the Biden administration said in a statement.
It added: “This initiative will also seek to empower women and other marginalized people through and within the digital ecosystem. DTA aims to help countries rebuild economies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and advance U.S. national security, diplomatic, commercial, and development priorities.”
News of the launch of the initiative follows the conclusion U.S.-Africa summit in Washington on Thursday, during which President Biden reiterated America’s commitment to the continent. The summit is seen as part of a push by the U.S. to reassert itself in Africa and counter the influence of China.
“African voices, African leadership, African innovation all are critical to addressing the most pressing global challenges and to realizing the vision we all share: a world that is free, a world that is open, prosperous, and secure,” Biden said.
He added that the administration will seek authority from Congress to lend $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund to provide access to financing for low- and middle-income countries.