Walmart, Caterpillar, MasterCard, Others Announce Commitments to Africa

Walmart, Caterpillar, MasterCard, Others Announce Commitments to Africa

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: 

-The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), launched Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT).  ACT is an ambitious $200 million initiative ($150 million from PEPFAR and up to $50 million from CIFF) to double the total number of children receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across ten priority African countries over the next two years.  This will enable 300,000 more children to receive ART.

-Caterpillar Foundation announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) to create the first ever AWEP-Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) in sub-Saharan Africa.  Caterpillar Foundation and the U.S. State Department are providing $1 million each to create these self-sustaining women’s business centers where women can gain the tools, resources, support and education they need to become successful entrepreneurs and exporters. By being in control of their own financial destiny, women helped by the Centers will help to end the cycle of poverty faced by many girls and women in developing countries and catalyze economic development, prosperity and job creation in their respective countries.

-Intel announced a new collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) called the Women and the Web Alliance. The Alliance will catalyze a group of partners to address the gender and Internet gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next 3 years. The Alliance consists of USAID, Intel, NetHope, World Pulse, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology in Nigeria, combining efforts to transform girls’ and women’s lives and livelihoods in Africa through digital literacy training, relevant content, policy work, and online social networks.

-The MasterCard Foundation announced that nearly 6,000 of the 15,000 students it has pledged to support with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, predominantly from Africa, will be enrolled in high school and university by December 2014. By the end of the 10-year initiative, 75% of the Scholars will be girls and young women.

-Walmart, through its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, has committed to train one million farmers, half of which will be women, by the end of 2016. Today, through $3 million in grants and in partnership with leading NGOs and USAID – which is working with the Feed the Future initiative – Walmart is accelerating the pace of training and aiming to deliver training to more than 135,000 farmers – 80,000 of which will be women – in Kenya, Rwanda, and Zambia. Kenyan farmers taking part in the program should see farm incomes double in just one growing season.

-Additionally, six organizations made formal commitments to support Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s expansion into Ethiopia and Namibia. Their contributions toward Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s expansion comes in the form of financial commitments totaling nearly $3 million, and in-kind donations or assistance.

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