USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks on the One-Year Anniversary of the Launch of the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Office of Press Relations
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U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C.

AMBASSADOR CURRIE: And at this point, I want to turn it over to one of our most important partners. We literally could not do this without USAID and the incredible work that they do around the world. And they are on the ground, providing invaluable assistance. And as both the Secretary and Advisor Trump have noted, we just deeply, deeply appreciate Administrator Green and his personal commitment to this, as well as his agency-wide commitment. Thank you.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. It is an honor to join all of you here in marking W-GDP's first anniversary and in celebrating the progress and results that we've already seen.

So to be clear, women's economic empowerment has long been a part of USAID's work. What W-GDP brings to the mission is new energy and a new comprehensive approach, an approach involving every part of the Executive Branch, from office to agency, from missions in the field to the Oval Office itself.

It's bringing new resources, new analytic metrics, and a laser-sharp focus on the barriers that prevent women from having their place at the economic table.

So USAID's role in W-GDP is an operational one. It's a programmatic one. First, we manage the W-GDP fund and ensure that we have optimal outcomes and results, and that we squeeze them from every single dollar that gets invested. Second, we work relentlessly to identify the most promising proposals for accelerating women's economic empowerment, provide initial funding to pilot those approaches, and then bring the best performers to scale.

Finally, we work to leverage our extensive field presence to advance each of the three fundamental pillars that you heard Ivanka talk about. And the early returns are indeed promising.

As you've heard, W-GDP has already lifted the lives of 12 million women around the world. Nine million of those were direct beneficiaries of these programs I've been referring to.

In its very first year, the W-GDP fund has made investments across 44 countries, and to amplify its reach, W-GDP has collaborated with a large, diverse group of partners - partners across the private sector, NGOs, and local governments. In fact, 250 partners.

At USAID alone, our programming has improved working conditions for more than 1.5 million women, and we have helped to provide entrepreneurial training for over 600,000 women.

But the numbers don't really begin to tell the story of W-GDP's emerging impact. Numbers cannot convey the story of women coffee farmers in Ethiopia who now have access to credit so they can start and expand their businesses. Or women in Cote d'Ivoire's chocolate industry who are now able to take advantage of overseas market opportunities.

Or women strawberry farmers in Colombia who have now improved the quality and quantity of their produce to the point where they're actually supplying strawberries to major regional restaurant chains.

And numbers don't begin to capture the joy I heard in the voices of these women as they proudly told Advisor Trump that because of W-GDP, they are now able to chase their dreams.

Or the pride Ivanka must have felt as W-GDP's architect to realize that all of that hard work, and with due respect to those sitting on either side of me, all the time spent up in Capitol Hill, but to realize that that really has made a difference in very practical ways in the lives of people a long way from the Beltway.

It's important to note that W-GDP's outcomes are not USAID's, not by a longshot. W-GDP works hard to tap into existing local networks. It's also forged partnerships with successful American companies that recognize that their business interests are best served when women are empowered around the world - great companies like Pepsi, Mars, Visa, and others.

So there's a lot to celebrate, and the stories that I have given you are just a small sampling of the work that's already underway under the first year of W-GDP. They are a fraction of the ideas and proposals we've been receiving from partners and potential partners.

Finally, there's one other aspect to USAID's role in this initiative, and that's working with the State Department to institutionalize this. There are lots of good ideas out there, and there have been throughout history, and they tend to last just about as long as an administration. I think our great mission - again, working so closely with all of you around the table - is to make sure that we lock this in, that we make sure that this framework is in fact a key component of American foreign policy.

So as the second year gets underway, I am excited about what comes next. Innovative programs, empowered women, new economic energy - really and truly the best is yet to come.

Thank you.