The most characteristic part of the trip was connected with women from all over the continent who have overcome enormous obstacles to pave the way for change. Their story is strong evidence that it is possible, if you put a reasonable development assistance to empower women to succeed in their economies.
In Ethiopia, I met Sarah Aber. Fourteen years ago, Sarah became MUYA, in the textile industry and the production of pottery. With the assistance of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and private sector partners, she grew the business from less than 10 to nearly 600 employees. Sarah hires and trains the woman, creating a direct multiplier effect, benefiting thousands seven & # 39; ads far beyond the initial investment of US aid to foreign development. Today, Sarah & # 39 is a major exporter of Ethiopia handmade woven garments and ceramics and its products are sitting on store shelves across the United States.
model Sarah success & # 39 is the one that we want to repeat. Its path highlights the strategic goals of development assistance: to help people, communities and, ultimately, the country's transition from a recipient of United States aid in the self-sufficient trading partners.
Access to financing from the & # 39 is one of the biggest problems women face as Sarah in Africa and in developing countries. That is why, during my trip, I was proud to announce a new program within the iconic W-GDP: 2X Africa. Through funding from private foreign investment (OPIC), 2X Africa seeks to directly invest $ 350 million to help raise more than $ 1 billion in capital to support women-owned, women at the head, as well as women who are supporting projects in sub-Saharan Africa from Sahara.
In Côte d & # 39; Ivoire, I visited the village Adopa where women perform an impossible job to collect the cocoa harvest. Cocoa industry is about 40% of export Ivory & # 39; Ivuara, and 39 & # is its largest export in the USA. While women do most of the work, which is 68% of the labor force, women earn only 21% of the revenue that is generated from cocoa production.
Because of the legal restrictions on women's land ownership, Ivorian women have only 25% of cocoa farms, making it more difficult to secure financing. That is why women Adope formed an association in order to attract their generosity and collectively provide an outlet to compete in the market and trade at a competitive level.
During my visit to Adope USAID Administrator Mark Green and I announced that the United States, in collaboration with the World Cocoa Foundation, to provide an additional $ 2 million dollars to create more than 300 new savings associations, so that women in the cocoa industry can get access to capital and training programs needed to support themselves and their seven & # 39; ads.
On our first regional summit initiatives of women entrepreneurs in finance (We-Fi), launched in the early days of administration, in partnership with the World Bank, I met a woman entrepreneur from dozens of countries in Africa. Among them was Jeanine Cooper of Liberia. As a child, Janine wanted to follow his father and start a rice farm, but it faces a serious & # 39; a major obstacle to obtaining a loan. It worked, and got early support from USAID. Now the company with Janine & # 39; is the largest producer of rice in Liberia, and it helps other Liberian farmers to gain access to national and international markets.
Task Jeanine access to finance is just one example of the many bars & # 39; erav faced by women all over the continent. Thanks in large part to the laws and customs that limit the ability of women to own or inherit land, and in some cases even open a bank account, women make up only 15% of the landowners in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
During my visit to the headquarters of the African Union, the United States and the African Union adopted a joint communiqué affirming our shared commitment to "promote effective legislation, policies and institutions" that "the promotion of gender equality, women's rights, women's economic empowerment and entrepreneurship Continent wide ". In addition, we are committed to the fight against Suras & # 39; serious injustices in the field of human rights, such as child and forced marriage, gender-based violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Despite the incredible challenges faced by women in Africa is already surpassing the poverty, the creation of new jobs, and the pioneers of a brighter future. Now we want to give them, and their sister, to unleash an even greater economic prosperity and peace for the peoples of Africa, for our country and for the world.
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