February 21, 2020

A year after the White House rolled out its women-focused initiative, Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative with the goal to empower 50 million women in the developing world by the year 2025, Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor to President Donald Trump, announced Friday that the initiative is joining forces with U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. African Development Foundation to amplify its funds outreach to female entrepreneurs in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

This latest move is part of the W-GDP’s accelerating match to systematically expand the program to make it a major component of U.S. game plan that covers several aspects of the U.S. foreign policy agenda, including defense, commerce and humanitarian.

Through the joint partnership, the program will get a major boost to increase the number of countries as well as outreach to women, partnering with USADF in Africa to promote African women’s entrepreneurship and boost their access to capital, markets, technical assistance, and mentorship.

The idea is to invest up to $10 million in African female entrepreneurs through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs,- a program that was established last year–offering alternative route to growth. The funds will be provided as grants, awarded by USADF.

AWE, a comprehensive cooperative learning and mentorship program that was launched in 2019 and simultaneously introduced to 26 countries worldwide to support W-GDP’s agenda, offers women worldwide opportunities to learn, explore the basics of business, including writing business plans and raising capital, with the goal of building a better future for their families and communities across Africa and around the world.

According to USADF, an estimated 66% of its grant beneficiaries are women-led businesses and women social entrepreneurs, which is why the foundation “believes Africa’s growth and prosperity will be driven by women.”

The deal will provide high potential AWE graduates in Africa with seed funding to start and scale their businesses.  The first grant awards will be given out this year to AWE graduates from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“W-GDP is the first ever whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment, developed intentionally to inspire collaboration on best programs and partnerships,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “I am proud to see the State Department and U.S. Africa Development Foundation partner together to expand the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in support of W-GDP. W-GDP is focused on scaling programs that will have maximum impact for women and communities around the world.”

AWE supports Pillar 2 of W-GDP by providing women with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises.