Here today are participants in the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, or AWEP, a State Department program that supports the professional development of women who run small and medium-size businesses across Africa. They are here for three weeks to explore opportunities for partnership, develop their skills, and build their professional networks.
Let me share just one story of these women. Comfort Adjahoe is here with us from Ghana. Comfort, where are you? Where are you, Comfort? Way back there. She manages a shea butter production and export company called Ele Agbe. It started small, but it’s not small any more. Today Comfort employs – listen to this – Comfort employs – that attractive woman right back there – 5,000 small-holder farmers in northern Ghana and 300 employees in Accra. (Applause.)
Now, she is a vivid example, but she is by far not the only example of how women can be powerful drivers of economic growth and how, by supporting women entrepreneurs, there can be a multiplier effect across economies. That’s why I personally, the State Department, and the United States are strong supporters of women’s economic empowerment, not only in Africa but worldwide.