Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the president and a senior White House adviser, announced a new global effort Thursday to help 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.
“This new initiative will for the first time coordinate America’s commitment to one of the most undervalued resources in the developing world – the talent, ambition and genius of women,” Trump wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that announced the news. For the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, the U.S. government will team up with several private companies such as UPS and Pepsi to “facilitate complementary private-sector investments to achieve our shared goals,” Trump said.
The USAID money will come from already-budgeted dollars. As part of his “America First” foreign policy, Trump has twice tried to slash the agency’s budget by a third, but his moves have been blocked by Congress. USAID funding is $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2018, down roughly $24 million from fiscal year 2017.
Mark Green, a former Republican congressman who serves as the head of USAID under Trump, has defended the administration’s proposed cuts, though he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year: “I readily admit this budget does not allow us to do everything we might want to do in a perfect world, and it does not allow us to take on every opportunity we might see.”
The new initiative will have to fit into the increasingly complicated world of American foreign assistance. The president is known to favor loans instead of grants and has suggested that aid should be cut to disloyal countries. But many in his administration have expressed concern about losing influence to China and other countries in offering funding.
The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative is the second fund for women’s empowerment that Ivanka Trump has been linked to. In 2017, the president’s daughter led a push for a new fund at the World Bank that was designed to boost female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Though it was initially reported that Ivanka Trump would lead that fund, the White House later clarified that she would have “no authority” after experts raised legal and ethical questions about a formal executive office staffer using her position to solicit money for a nonprofit.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Adam Taylor