Ivanka promotes the empowerment of women in business on trip to Ethiopia

REUTERS  Tiksa Negeri

REUTERS Tiksa Negeri

Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, arrived in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday - the first leg of her four-day African tour.

The president's daughter and senior adviser is advancing a global program for women.

Ivanka Trump is due to take part in a World Bank policy summit and then visit Ivory Coast to promote female entrepreneurs in the country's cocoa industry.

But even thousands of miles from Washington, Trump is sure to be shadowed by her father's efforts to cut global aid, as well as his past disparaging comments about the continent.

The US State Department said the presidential advisor would visit both Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast between April 14-17, along with the director of USAID, Mark Green.

Ivanka Trump has made women's economic empowerment a centerpiece of her White House portfolio.

Launched in February, the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative aims to train women worldwide to help them get well-paying jobs.

"Fundamentally we believe that investing in women is a smart development policy and it is a smart business", White House adviser Trump said after drinking coffee and inhaling incense at a traditional Ethiopian ceremony in Addis Ababa.

OPIC provides loans, loan guarantees and political risk insurance, funding projects that stretch across continents and industries. The president's 2020 budget proposal requests an additional $100 million for the initiative, which will also be supported by programs across the government as well as private investment.

Her travel to Africa follows a five-day tour that First Lady Melania Trump made there a year ago, with a focus on child welfare.

The Trump administration's policy in Africa has focused on the war on terror and trying to manage the growing political and economic influence of China and Russian Federation on the continent.

The program aims to promote new projects, offer training, facilitate financial support and promote reforms to break down gender inequality faced by women, especially in developing nations. Money for the effort will come through USAID, which initially set up a $50 million fund using dollars already budgeted.

Experts praised the governmentwide approach, which will incorporate new and existing programs, though some stressed that it was still early in the process.

The Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP), which was launched in February, coincides with Trump's proposed cuts to foreign aid, and a ban on USA aid to health groups that promote or provide abortions.

Marakle Tesfaye, an activist, said, however, "I think she's coming genuinely to empower women and it's good that she's coming because she will push forward our agenda".

Ivanka Trump, who has been successful in fashion business, is estimated to have net worth $300 million, while her husband Jared Kushner, who runs real-estate business, could be $800 million, according to USA media reports.

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