Secretary Clinton met with participants in the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)
Women entrepreneurs from 37 African nations convened in Washington for the third meeting of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), which runs from June 3 to 23. Representing a colorful variety of cultures, customs and languages, the nearly 50 AWEP delegates all had two things in common: entrepreneurial experience, and a dedication to improving communities through business.
Launched by the State Department in 2010, AWEP builds networks of women entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa who run small- and medium-sized businesses that advance their communities and their countries. Each year, AWEP delegates spend three weeks in the United States learning about best business practices and ways to confront common challenges through professional development meetings with policymakers, industry associations, nonprofit groups and businesspeople.
The 2012 delegates manage businesses in industries like agribusiness and food processing, textiles, home decor, clothing and cosmetics. Many of these businesses export their products to other African countries, Europe and even the United States, and all have an Internet presence.
AWEP complements the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and provides African businesswomen with information and connections that they can use to improve business operations, secure public-private partnerships, and expand women’s role in shaping national business climates. This year’s AWEP program concludes with attendance at the State Department’s U.S.-Africa Business Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.