Ivanka Trump women's initiative announces $27M in grants

Ivanka Trump, center, talks with her father President Donald Trump, right, after speaking at the G-20 summit event on women's empowerment in Osaka, Japan, Saturday, June 29, 2019. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is at left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON — A White House initiative spearheaded by Ivanka Trump to help women in developing countries get ahead economically is announcing its first batch of grants, $27 million for 14 projects in 22 countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative was launched in February with an initial investment of $50 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

A little more than half of that amount, $27 million, went to an "incentive" fund for partnerships with private businesses and other partners. The first 14 projects receiving a share of that $27 million were chosen from over 120 entries, administration officials said Wednesday.

The projects are meant to help women with employment and entrepreneurship, and provide women in business with access to financing and other assistance.

They range from an effort in Rwanda to help 1,400 women get into the African country's fast-growing energy sector, to a Latin American initiative that aims to equip 8,700 women with the skills needed to work tech sector jobs in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, to supporting 5,000 women working in Indonesia's poultry industry.

USAID Administrator Mark Green and Ivanka Trump were to discuss the partnerships Wednesday at a Washington event.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump and a senior White House adviser, welcomed the "enthusiastic" response to the program and the range of commitments to the initiative, whose goal is to help empower 50 million women in developing countries by 2025.

"We are just getting started, but we are committed to delivering real results that create transformational change for women in developing countries by helping them prosper in the workforce, succeed as entrepreneurs, and fight for legislative change," she said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Ivanka Trump has made economic empowerment for women a focus of her White House tenure and has highlighted the issue during trips abroad, including to Africa this year.

The budget Trump has proposed for 2020 asks Congress for another $100 million for the initiative, even as he has proposed cuts to other foreign aid.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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