Washington, DC – Ivanka Trump, the first daughter of the United States and adviser to President Donald J. Trump, along with USAID Administrator Mark Green, and Acting OPIC President and CEO Dave Bohigian made a tightly scripted four-day trip to Africa to promote the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.
W-GDP – a US government initiative to advance women’s participation in the workplace and aims to benefit 50 million women in developing countries by 2025 – was rolled out at a White House conference in February.
Landing in the East African nation of Ethiopia, the trio paid respects to the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash at the Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa. They met with religious leaders representing the diverse faiths of those who perished in the crash, laid a wreath, and observed a moment of silence.
The delegation later met with President Sahle-Work Zewde to reinforce the United States’ strong partnership with Ethiopia. Ivanka highlighted Zewde’s achievement in becoming the first female president of Ethiopia. The delegation and President Zewde discussed efforts to improve opportunity and inclusivity for women through the White House-led W-GDP initiative. They also discussed improving women’s access to credit through legal and regulatory reform, particularly in rural areas.
During the trip, the delegation also met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at Menelik Palace to reaffirm US support for Ethiopia’s progress on reforms toward inclusive democracy, broad-based prosperity, and lasting stability. During the meeting, Ivanka welcomed the Prime Minister’s proactive approach to increasing the number of women in leadership positions in his government and discussed ways Ethiopia and the United States can partner to advance their shared goal of increasing women’s economic empowerment in Ethiopia and worldwide.
The delegation next met with African Union Deputy Chairperson Kwesi Quartey to discuss how women’s empowerment can spur economic growth in Africa. Ivanka and Quartey signed a joint communique committing to advancing women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship across the continent.
Ivanka made it a point to meet with businesswomen in the coffee industry at Dumerso Coffee in Addis Ababa to discuss opportunities and challenges women entrepreneurs face in Ethiopia. During the meeting Ivanka announced a new award — through the W-GDP Initiative — for Azalech Coffee Roasting, Grinding and Packaging, owned by Azalech Tesfaye.
Later Administrator Green and Adviser Trump along with CEO Bohigian met with Sara Abera, the owner of Muya Ethiopia, a leading textile and handicrafts company and former USAID beneficiary. The delegation toured the Muya Ethiopia production facility, met with employees, and discussed the local business environment. Ivanka also announced a new partnership between OPIC and Muya Ethiopia.
From Ethiopia, the delegation flew nearly 3000 miles west to Côte d’Ivoire and met with Vice President of Côte d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan at the Presidential Palace to discuss Côte d’Ivoire’s economic reform process, the White House-led W-GDP Initiative, and efforts to ensure women’s participation in the country’s growing economy.
The delegation attended a signing ceremony that established a gender unit within Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Education, a key condition to helping unlock $524.7 million in funding under the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in Côte d’Ivoire.
Ivanka Trump along with other members of her delegation also met women entrepreneurs at a cocoa farm in Adzope, Côte d’Ivoire to discuss the W-GD) Initiative, and overcoming economic challenges that women face. The delegation announced a renewed public-private partnership through USAID’s W-GDP fund and the World Cocoa Foundation for $2 million, which will catalyze private sector investment in women workers of the cocoa industry.
Later, Administrator Green visited a women’s Savings and Loan Association in Abobo to discuss USAID programming that has helped women from various ethnic groups overcome post-conflict grievances and security challenges. Green also met with local partners about the electoral landscape and the need for credible election monitoring, as well as the participation of youth and women to prevent violence and ensure transparent elections.
Another highlight of the trip was arrival of a bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL), led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. The other members included Democrat Senator Chris Coons, and Republican Senators John Barrasso, Ben Sasse, and Rep. Mike McCaul. Joining the congressional delegation In Côte d’Ivoire, whose members led the effort to pass the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018, Ivanka and her delegation attended ceremonial events.