Word from Washington: May 2019

Categories: IGD News , Member News

Recently, the U.S. State Department has played a major role in highlighting East African business opportunities for American entities. Last August, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s came to the U.S. to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss cooperation between Kenya and the U.S. as it related to economic and security matters.

The follow up to that meeting took place earlier this month, as a delegation led by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma was in Washington for four days to meet with various administration agencies and officials and to sign Bilateral Strategic Agreements to strengthen relations the two countries.

Also taking place in Washington, D.C. this month (May 15-16) is the Ethiopia Partnerships Forum, hosted by the State Department to present Ethiopia’s recent economic reforms and highlight investment opportunities to American private sector leaders and policymakers.

On May 9, USAID along with more than ten other Federal Departments and agencies officially launched the United States Global Health Security Strategy, which will guide U.S. Government funding and capacity-building efforts to fight the growing number of infectious disease outbreaks. Instances like the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC will be a major focus for this global effort.

Cleanup and recovery is still a slow process in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and the other African nations that were affected by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth a few months ago. At the beginning of May, The World Bank Group approved $700 million in emergency support for cyclone relief in the region, which while greatly needed, still pales in comparison to the over $2 billion that the World Bank estimated would be needed for recovery costs.   

Following the launch of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative in February, various agencies have rolled out women-focused programs tied to the new Trump administration effort. While on the U.S. Government delegation trip to Ethiopia led by Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump last month, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) launched 2X Africa, an initiative that will invest $350 million into businesses that are owned, led by, or empowering women on the continent.

When Trump continued to Cote d’Ivoire for another leg of the trip, she was joined by USAID Administrator Mark Green and officials from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to announce the launch of a new gender unit that will focus on improving education and training to increase economic opportunities for girls and women in Cote d’Ivoire. The gender unit, which will be within the Ivorian Ministry of National Education, is a requirement for the funding of the Skills for Employability and Productivity Project that is a part of the $524.7 million MCC-Cote d’Ivoire Compact.