Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 26, 2010


The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) is taking place in Washington, D.C., July 26 - August 3, and Kansas City, Missouri, August 4 - 6, in conjunction with the 2010 United States/sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum). Women from AGOA-eligible countries will participate in the program. The AWEP is organized by the U.S. Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under the auspices of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

AWEP aims to empower African women entrepreneurs to become part of their national and global business network by increasing opportunities for women to use the AGOA program and expanding opportunities for exports and U.S. investment in sub-Saharan Africa.

The slate of AWEP activities includes:
· Meetings with officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture, and USAID;
· Presentations by companies and industry associations;
· Networking opportunities with non-governmental and civil society organizations, and diaspora groups;
· Introductions and exchanges with Congressional members and staffs; and,
· Information sessions with local government, civic and business leaders in Kansas City.

The professional exchanges are designed to help the participants build business alliances, develop advocacy and communications skills, identify resources to advance women's entrepreneurship, and take advantage of opportunities for U.S. partnerships through AGOA.

The women will have the opportunity to interact with African ministers of trade, finance, and agriculture during an AGOA plenary session in Washington entitled “Integrating Africa’s Women into the Global Economy.” Events and lunches will be sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, the non-profit organization, ONE, and others.

Activities are expected to continue in Africa after the U.S.-based program concludes. The follow-up activities, some sponsored by companies such as ExxonMobil, will include training and mentoring programs for the businesswomen in their communities, as well as advocacy efforts to promote changes to discriminatory systems against women in business and to put in place greater systems of opportunities and support for Africa’s businesswomen.

For more information, and to receive a schedule of open press events, please contact:

Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Public Diplomacy Office
U.S. Department of State
(202) 647-0677
EPPDMediaRSVP@state.gov

Natasha Jackson
Bureau of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. Department of State
202-663-0531
JacksonNM@state.gov

Raphael Cook
Bureau of Public Affairs
202-647-0874
cookrl@state.gov



PRN: 2010/1009