U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, has announced a $2 million commitment to help women in Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry.
Speaking at Cayat, a cocoa cooperative in the town of Adzopé, Trump said Wednesday the $2 million, promised by USAID and private chocolate companies, would go toward savings associations, which are a popular way for businesswomen to gain capital in the West African country.
Cayat is one company that was able to grow from a savings association in an industry largely run by women, but where women are still out-earned by men.
“Often times women are left out of the decision making process — women do a lot of the work but women often don’t have the ability to own land,” Tim McCoy, vice president of country relations for the World Cocoa Foundation, told VOA.
“So what we’re seeing here is a change in that and an example of women really taking responsibility and exercising really amazing leadership,” he added about Cayat.
“Thanks for allowing us to highlight a best-in-class example,” Ivanka Trump told an audience of Cayat employees after touring the facilities Wednesday.
Trump was received warmly both in the town and the cocoa cooperative. Dozens of people wearing shirts with Trump’s photo lined the streets to greet her.
“We are ready to work with them,” a Cayat employee told VOA after Trump’s announcement. “We want our children to be able to go to school — we want to be happy like other women.”
As part of her four-day Women’s Empowerment tour in Africa, Trump visited the cocoa farm, some 90 kilometers from Abidjan, ahead of attending a World Bank policy summit Wednesday afternoon.
She is in the region to promote a $50 million initiative enacted by her father in February that is aimed at encouraging women’s employment in developing countries.
“Fundamentally, we believe that investing in women is a smart development policy and it is a smart business,” Trump said after sampling coffee at a traditional Ethiopian ceremony in Addis Ababa on Monday. “It’s also in our security interest, because women, when we’re empowered, foster peace and stability.”