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Unformatted text preview: Fall 2010 The Ambassadors REVIEW 22 Investing in the Future Melanne Verveer Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues nvesting in the potential of women and girls is one of the smartest investments that any country can make. Women are critical to driving economic growth and they are vital to creating stable societies. There is an abundance of data demonstrating the dynamic impact that economically empowered women have. The World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes an annual Gender Gap Report. Why would WEF particularly focus on gender gaps? This report clearly illustrates that countries with three key indicators—providing access to education for women and girls, access to healthcare, and having women’s full political and economic participation—are the same countries that are far more prosperous and have made greater economic progress. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a longtime champion of women’s rights. I have been privileged to join her at the State Department because I believe it is critical for the United States to work with other nations to promote women’s economic empowerment by increasing women’s access to the financial services, markets, technology, and mentoring that will help them build their businesses. At the State Department, we are developing cross-cutting programs designed to remove barriers and empower women to reach their full potential. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is one program through which we are striving to meet these objectives. Enacted in the mid-1990s as part of then-President Clinton’s ‘trade not aid’ agenda, AGOA is designed to increase trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA establishes duty-free access to US markets for exports from sub-Saharan African countries that demonstrate progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms. AGOA provides a comprehensive plan to build entrepreneur- ship in Africa. I have seen the benefits it has brought to women and I see ways we can use it to do more. Experience has shown us that empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the best way to create jobs, stimulate economic development, and increase trade capacity. USAID is partnering with private-sector led trade associations, donor agencies and national governments to build trade capacity. We have also created trade promotion agencies throughout Africa that work with individual entrepreneurs to help them build their businesses, and USAID builds trade associations for in-country support and network-...
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.
- Spring '11