LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris is calling for $7 billion in private sector investment to help Africa prepare for the effects of climate change.
The announcement comes as he wraps up his week-long trip to the continent on Saturday. Harris plans to visit a farm outside Lusaka where workers are using new techniques and technology to grow more produce, as part of her effort to demonstrate ways to secure food supplies despite global warming.
“The United States is committed to these kinds of innovative solutions to support climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience,” she said at a news conference with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Friday.
The $7 billion announcement is the biggest item Harris has unveiled during her trip, but more work will be needed to keep it going.
For example, African Parks, a non-profit group, has committed to raising $1.25 billion over the next 7 years to expand its conservation program. Another organization, the One Acre Fund, plans to raise $100 million to plant 1 billion trees by the end of the decade.
Climate change policy is complicated in Africa, which has contributed far less to total greenhouse gas emissions than wealthier parts of the world like the United States. According to the International Energy Agency, 43% of Africans did not have access to electricity in 2021, and recent outages have caused frustration.
In Ghana, she was questioned at a press conference about how the West can demand that Africa go green and stop using its natural resources. And she was pressed on whether rich countries would contribute $100 billion a year to help poor countries deal with climate change, a commitment under the Paris climate accord.
Harris allowed that “it is critical that, as global leaders, we all tell the truth about the disparities that exist in terms of cause and effect and that we address those disparities.” And she said there are opportunities in the “clean energy economy” that could help create growth in Africa.
On the money front, President Joe Biden has requested $11 billion in his proposed budget to meet Paris Agreement commitments.
“We’re waiting for Congress to do its job,” Harris said.