More than $200 million was committed to programs for Africa at a forum for spouses of African leaders held in conjunction with this week’s U.S.-Africa Summit Wednesday.
The forum, titled “Investing in Our Future at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit” was hosted by the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama, the George W. Bush Institute, and the State Department and focused on education, health, women and first spouses’ ability to contribute to the effort.
The investments announced Wednesday include investments from the Caterpillar Foundation, Walmart, Intel, and the The MasterCard Foundation as well as new initiatives from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon.
According to the White House the commitments total more than $200 million.
“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will fund training for 135,000 farmers, 80,000 of which who are women in Africa by 2016,” Walmart’s Maggie Sans announced at the forum, pointing out that assisting women succeed also makes good business sense.
Caterpillar’s Michele Sullivan echoed Sans’ argument for investing in girls and women.
“We know that we can’t alleviate poverty ourselves. So we are very happy to announce our partnership with the State Department for $1 million to open the first ever African center for women’s entrepreneurship,” Sullivan said, going on to add that the company believes in Africa.
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom also announced that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) have partnered to launch the Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) initiative.
“Through ACT we will double the total number of child receiving lifesaving, anti-retroviral therapy in ten priority African countries over the next two years,” Higginbottom said. “Together, PEPFAR and CIFF will invest $200 million in ACT, $150 million from PEPFAR and $50 million from CIFF. This investment will enable 300,000 more children living with HIV to receive ART over the net two years.”
Tuesday, in his address to the U.S.-Africa Summit, President Obama announced $33 billion in new public and private investments to the continent of Africa.
“So the bottom line is the United States is making a major and long-term investment in Africa’s progress,” he said. “And taken together, the new commitments I’ve described today — across our government and by our many partners — total some $33 billion. And that will support development across Africa and jobs here in the United States.”
Read some of the investments announced at the spouses forum via the White House: