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U.S. backs Zim women entrepreneurs to boost trade
November 21, 2013
States Embassy is supporting the launch of the Zimbabwean Chapter
of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) this Thursday
in Harare. The group will work to expand and support Zimbabwean
women in business as well as assist them export goods and services
to other countries, including the United States.
excited to see the launch of this AWEP chapter in Zimbabwe,”
said Ambassador Bruce Wharton ahead of the launch. “I have
often said that Zimbabwe’s strongest resource is its people
– and this is a perfect example of those resources in action.
I am confident that these women, who have taken initiative not only
to start their own businesses but to contribute to the Zimbabwean
economy, will make impact the future of the Zimbabwean economy.”
chapters have been established in countries such as Nigeria and
Zambia. Sylvia Banda of Zambia, Pan African AWEP Chairperson, is
expected to attend the launch ceremony which will also be attended
by senior government officials from the Ministry of Women Affairs,
Gender and Community Development; and the Ministry of Industry and
CEO of House of BarRue Knitwear, a successful business that exports
handmade garments, is founding chairperson of the AWEP chapter in
Zimbabwe. She visited the U.S. through the AWEP exchange in 2012.
“The main theme for the launch and the Zimbabwe chapter is
to capitalize on providing "opportunity" for women in
business. We believe as AWEP that once women are given an opportunity
to succeed, they will do so,” she said. “AWEP believes
in expanding women's role in shaping national business climates
and leading the way in social reform. We aim to transform Zimbabwean
communities through business achievements."
AWEP was established
in July 2012 by the United States’ Department of State through
international exchange programs involving American and African women.
The program identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs
across sub-Saharan Africa who own and run small and medium scale
Since its establishment,
four Zimbabwean women have participated in the program and form
the core of the group that is establishing a Zimbabwean chapter.
They, along with four other participants from other U.S. exchange
programs such as the Fortune/State Department Global Women’s
Mentoring Program, form the founding committee for the chapter.
to the AWEP exchange programs travelled to the U.S. for three weeks
where they met business leaders, policymakers, companies and industry
associations, non-profit groups advocating for women's economic
opportunities, and multilateral development organizations. The annual
exchange program coincides with the Africa Growth Opportunity Act
(AGOA) Forum when held in Washington, DC, and is designed to help
the entrepreneurs build business alliances, develop advocacy and
communication skills, network, identify resources to advance women's
entrepreneurship, and take advantage of opportunities for U.S. partnerships
Zimbabwe and the United States continues to blossom with Zimbabwe
recording a trade surplus in seven of the last nine years. According
trade data from the United States Department of Commerce, Zimbabwe
imported $53 million worth of goods from the United States while
the United States purchased $52 million of goods.
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