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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Africa


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 28, 2014

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Twenty-nine women entrepreneurs from 26 African countries arrive in the United States this week to explore ways to expand their businesses and generate prosperity in their communities. The women in this year’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) join a network that has generated thousands of jobs and connected enterprises across Africa and the United States. The U.S. government is committed to empowering women and supporting entrepreneurship to promote economic growth around the world.

Now in its fifth year as a signature initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the AWEP 2014 professional exchange will take the participating women from New York to Washington, D.C., and Chicago from July 28-August 15. Additionally, the women will visit Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, or Albuquerque in smaller groups. In each city, the women will visit local businesses, business incubators, schools, and non-governmental organizations to engage with diverse organizations on ways to transform their societies through economic development and social advocacy.

Participants in this year’s AWEP professional exchange represent Angola, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

AWEP promotes business growth and increased trade both regionally and to U.S. markets, including through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). To date, the 184 alumnae of AWEP have created more than 17,000 jobs and established 22 women’s business associations across Africa and are transforming societies and spurring economic growth on the continent.

For more information on the program, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at eca-press@state.gov.



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