February 7, 2019

United States President Donald J. Trump on Thursday signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum that established a White House’s interagency-led program for women globally, Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.

“Investing in women helps achieve greater peace and prosperity for nations — not only our nations; this is all nations all over the world,” President Trump said during the signing ceremony.

Through the program, the administration aims to reach and financially empower 50 million women in the developing world by the year 2025. A $50 million fund has been set aside to fund the program and will be administered by its United States Agency for International Development, a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday.

The fund will be disbursed through three schemes: Vocational education and advancement of women workforce; Finance for women entrepreneurs who own or run small- and medium-sized enterprises, and Elimination of legal and cultural barriers to accelerate women’s participation in their society and land ownership.

The W-GDP is part of the Trump administration’s efforts to implement its new approach for providing foreign aid to recipient countries by using metrics-based investments that will help recipient countries become self-reliant.  

“Research shows that the larger the gender gap, the more likely a country is to be involved in conflict and respond to threat with immediate violence. The economic empowerment of women should not be viewed as a “woman’s issue,”  White House Special Advisor Ivanka Trump said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “It’s smart development assistance that benefits whole families, communities, and entire nations.”

The administration plan to partner with other nations, as well as civil society, multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank, and the private sector to accelerate its goal to help women succeed in their communities and countries.

African countries, including Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda have signed onto the W-GDP program. Companies, including Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Walmart, United Parcel Services, Deloitte, Procter &Gambles, United Nations international Children’s Emergency Fund, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Asia Society and CARE have also joined.

The Trump administration is already playing a significant role in advancing and empowering women globally to reach their full economic potential. Last year, the administration launched OPIC’s 2x Women Initiative during the Summit of Americas in Peru, through the U.S. government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, to catalyze women’s economic participation and access to capital for women-owned businesses.

The Trump administration, through OPIC, has invested over $1 billion globally in women-owned, women-led enterprises and companies that provide a product or service that intentionally empowers women.

“We know that when women can expand their economic opportunity, they invest that money back in their families and communities. Investing in women is a way to extend our impact and bring positive change to the developing world,” said Ray W. Washburne, President and Chief Executive Officer of the OPIC. “OPIC is committed to gender lens investing to support women in the developing world and to unlock the multi-trillion dollar investment opportunity they represent.”

The W-GDP builds on the administration’s other women-focused programs, including a new legislation, Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, that was recently approved by the Congress.

The USAID Administrator Mark Green, said: “We know that investing in women builds resilient, self-reliant, and prosperous societies. Today’s launch of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative will accelerate the achievement of these goals by leveraging the collective resources and expertise of the U.S. Government to unlock the full economic potential of women around the world.”