Women entrepreneurs get boost at G20
World Bank launches loan program for women in developing countries
The World Bank yesterday launched a public-private loan program aimed at providing over $1 billion to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries, a project first initiated by US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump. The event put a spotlight on the powerful political role Ivanka Trump plays in the White House, where she has a formal job as an adviser to her father, and has frequently met with world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The World Bank said initial funding of $325 million was coming from donors including Germany, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and would be matched by hundreds of millions of dollars in additional private capital. “This is going to be what we hope will be a multi-billion dollar fund to support women entrepreneurs,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said at a launch attended by six of the 20 world leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “This is not a cute little project. This is going to be a major driver of economic growth in the future ... and it’s going to drive gender equality at the same time,” he said.
The program, which aims to start awarding loans before year end, will work with governments “to improve laws and regulations that are stifling women entrepreneurs” and push banks to free up funds for female-owned businesses. It will also create an online mentoring tool to match women business owners in developing countries with advisers such as Ivanka Trump, Kim said. Women business owners at the event said it was important to tackle legal barriers that prevent women from owning property and limit their access to funds.
“The empowerment of women is absolutely essential,” United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told participants, decrying what he called regression in women’s rights even in industrialized countries. Merkel said she was impressed how quickly the bank had realized the project, which was first initiated five months ago. “If everything went as quickly at the World Bank ... then we would be much more efficient,” she said.
Trump pledges 50 million
President Donald Trump said yesterday the US would contribute $50 million to the new World Bank fund conceived by his daughter. He said the fund would help eliminate barriers for women to launch businesses, help transform “millions and millions of lives,” and “provide new hope to these women from countless communities all across the world.”“The critical investments we’re announcing today will help advance the economic empowerment of women around the world,” he said.
The president has been criticized for crude remarks he’s made about women over the years, including a recent tweet focusing on a television news host’s appearance. Trump’s senior staff is dominated by men, despite the considerable influence of Ivanka Trump, who serves as a senior White House adviser. In addition to the US, Germany and Canada, the new fund has also received contributions from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Australia, China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and South Korea.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump frequently criticized rival Hillary Clinton’s ties to her family’s Clinton Foundation, which received millions in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other Mideast nations for charitable work. During an October general election debate in Las Vegas, Trump demanded that Clinton “give back the money you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so terrible.”
He said then: “Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off ... buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money.” Officials stressed that Ivanka Trump will not have an operational or fundraising role with the fund, which will be run by a governing committee of contributors. Trump also took the opportunity to praise Ivanka Trump, who at one point Saturday was spotted sitting in her father’s seat at am official G-20 event.
Trump said he’d been proud of her since “day one,” and offered a rare, self-deprecating assessment of the challenges he’s added to her life. “If she weren’t my daughter, it would be so much easier for her,” he said with laugh, adding: “That might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth.” Ivanka Trump has faced sustained criticism from opponents of her father who’d hoped she would be able to push him to adopt more moderate policies. Many have labeled her “complicit” in his agenda.
SHANGHAI: This picture taken on July 3, 2017 in Shanghai shows two men (centre) riding bicycles from a sharing company. Authorities in Shanghai and Tianjin will impose regulations on the rapidly growing bike-sharing sector following mounting complaints over an accumulation of millions of the rentable two-wheelers on city streets, state media reported.
HAMBURG: The daughter of the US President, Ivanka Trump (C-L), looks on as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde (C-R) speaks during the panel discussion “Launch Event Women’s Entrepreneur Finance Initiative” on the second day of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, yesterday.