Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

Ivanka Trump promotes women’s empowerment in Ethiopia (Associated Press)

April 14, 2019

From the article:

Far from the din of Washington, Ivanka Trump toured businesses run by women in Ethiopia on Sunday while promoting a White House global economic program for women.

President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser visited a coffee shop and textile company in Addis Ababa. It was her first stop in Africa on a four-day trip to Ethiopia and Ivory Coast on behalf of a White House project intended to boost 50 million women in developing countries by 2025.

Aiming to offer assistance and learn about the struggles of women in business, she took part in a traditional coffee ceremony, visited with weavers and announced new financial support for businesses

“Investing in women is smart development policy and it’s smart business,” Trump said, sitting in Dumerso Coffee, a dimly lighted space with a woven ceiling, tile floor and colorful paintings. Alongside were women who work in the industry. “It’s also in our security interest, because women, when we’re empowered, foster peace and stability,” she said.

--

Experts praised the government-wide approach, which will incorporate new and existing programs, though some stressed that it was early in the process. The investment comes as the president is proposing cuts to foreign aid, and as the administration is expanding a ban on U.S. aid to groups that promote or provide abortions.

“The part of the proposal which is around looking at laws — that is a good thing to focus on,” said Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, referencing the initiative’s support for changing laws, regulations and customs that create barriers preventing women from fully participating in the workforce.

But he said the abortion-related ban could have a negative economic impact. “I think one of the most powerful tools for women’s economic empowerment is the ability to choose when and how many children they have,” Kenny said.

Daniel Runde of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Ivanka Trump was strategically building on the work of past administrations. He called her an effective “goodwill ambassador” for the issues and a smart emissary to send to Africa.

Hillary Clinton, as U.S. secretary of state, “provided high-level attention to these issues,” said Runde, who previously worked for USAID and is an informal adviser to the administration on development policy. “Ivanka Trump is playing a similar role to the role that Secretary Clinton played.”

 

Related Experts

Photo of Charles Kenny
Director of Technology and Development and Senior Fellow