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African women unite to promote entrepreneurship


Three entrepreneurs who work closely with USAID's West Africa Trade Hub were among the group of 35 African businesswomen who founded the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program during the 9th annual African Growth and Opportunity Act forum in Washington, D.C. Part of a four-day conference focused on African trade (including an encounter with U.S. Secretary of States Hillary Clinton), the initiative aims to increase exports under AGOA and investment in women-owned exporting companies through networking and advocacy for measures that would make it easier for women to do business--like outlawing gender-based discrimination by bank loan officers.

“We did not want this to look like just another training or seminar,” said Comfort Adjahoe (in green blouse at far left), who signed the memorandum of understanding establishing the program. Her company, Ele Agbe of Ghana, exports shea butter products and glass beads with the help of technical assistance and contacts made through from the Trade Hub. “This demonstrates a level of seriousness and commitment that we are going to work together” to promote women entrepreneurs, she added. “By coming together we can share our ideas. Nobody has ever succeeded in business alone.”

Read the full story, including videos of Adjahoe and two entrepreneurs from Burkina Faso.