Ivanka Trump in Africa to promote Girls in the Office program

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Leaving behind the White House battles over boundary walls and tax yields, Ivanka Trump is visiting Ethiopia and Ivory Coast in pursuit of a very different target — advancing a global women’s program she hopes will outlast an administration better known for”America First” isolationism.

Senior advisor and the president’s kid arrived on Sunday on a flight from Africa, starting a swing to advocate. Her plans include visiting with women working from the coffee industry and vacationing a female-run textile facility, in addition to meeting dignitaries and emerging in a World Bank policy summit.

But thousands of miles away from Washington, Trump is sure to be shadowed by the efforts of her own father to reduce aid, as well as his disparaging remarks about the continent. While she’s drawn praise for taking on this job — and also for making this excursion — the comparison between her priorities and those of others in the White House has been obvious.

On the continent, reactions to the trip reflected the contradictions of its own role.

Activist Marakie Tesfaye, who founded a team in Ethiopia for women, welcomed the focus, saying:”I believe she is coming really to enable girls and it’s good that she is coming because she will push forward our agenda.”

Ethiopian journalist Sisay Woubshet was more skeptical, mentioning President Donald Trump’s past comments and adding:”I don’t think folks are going to have good feeling about his kid’s trip this time around to promote her international initiative towards women.”

For Ivanka Trump, those challenges have the land.

She has spent two decades promoting a family-friendly agenda within an administration focused on hardline immigration approaches and protectionist trade policies. To questions about international aid spending, she has said the government attempts to be generous in a”financially responsible way,” and has claimed that investing in her project — which builds on previous White House efforts — is a way to promote safety in developing nations.

During her journeys, Ivanka Trump will soon be accompanied by by Mark Green, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The facility they are supposed to visit got started with financing from USAID and Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which provides funding projects that stretch across industries and continents, loans, loan guarantees and political risk insurance.

OPIC Acting President David Bohigian will joins them while in Ethiopia. OPIC is intended to announce a new initiative.

Ivanka Trump was expected to announce support. And she had been to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.

By Ethiopia, Ivanka Trump was led into Ivory Coast, where participate in a meeting economic opportunities, as well as she was to visit to a cocoa farm. The gathering is part of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative of the World Bank — a software the bank to introduce was pushed by Ivanka Trump. The very first daughter is going to be joined from the Ivory Coast with a congressional delegation which will include Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The excursion of ivanka Trump comes long after initial lady Melania Trump did a solo tour of the continent. Much like her stepdaughter, Mrs. Trump confronted many of the same questions about the priorities of the president, who was roundly criticized a year after his personal remark about”therefore –hole countries” in Africa became public.

The Trump administration put out an Africa coverage late last year that largely sought to counter what it called the”predatory” practices of China and Russia from the region. It had been viewed by some critics, coming two years into his government and after his comments. So far, the president has made no plans to travel there somewhere.

The new global women’s initiative calls for the State Department, the National Security Council along with other U.S. bureaus. It aims to help women in developing countries with job training, financial support and reforms. Cash for the effort will likely come through USAID, which set up a $50 million fund using dollars already budgeted. The president’s 2020 budget proposal asks another $100 million to its initiative, which applications throughout the government in addition to private investment will also support.

Pros praised although some stressed it was still early in the process, the approach, which will feature new and existing programs. The investment comes as the president is suggesting cuts to foreign aid, and as the government has been expanding a ban on U.S. aid to groups that promote or provide abortions.

“The portion of the proposition which is around looking at laws — that’s a good issue to focus on,” explained Charles Kenny, a senior fellow in the middle for Global Development, referencing the initiative’s aid for changing legislation, regulations and customs that create barriers preventing women from fully participating in the workforce. But he said the abortion-related prohibit could have a negative financial impact, saying that”I believe among the most powerful instruments for women’s financial empowerment is the power to select if and how many children they have.”

Daniel Runde, in the Center for Strategic and International Studies, stated Ivanka Trump was building on the work of previous administrations, calling her a successful”goodwill ambassador” for the topics, and a wise emissary to ship to Africa.

“Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton provided high tech attention to these problems,” said Runde, who formerly worked for the USAID and will be an informal advisor to the administration on growth policy. “Ivanka Trump is playing a significant role to the function that Secretary Clinton played.”


Associated Press authors Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Alexis Adele from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, contributed to the report.