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ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Good morning everyone.
I have to correct the minister on one thing. The minister said that Ms. Trump, Ivanka Trump, wanted to leave the hotel and come out and see. I would put it differently: no one would stop her from coming to see you.
So, she was very excited about this opportunity to see this beautiful country and to meet with the warm people of Côte d'Ivoire.
Another important part of this trip, last night, the Vice President gave the two of us some delicious chocolate, and we told him that we had to go and see where it came from. And so, here we are.
USAID is grateful for the partnership that is represented here today. I want to make sure to acknowledge some of our partners who have joined us from the World Cocoa Foundation and the chocolate industry: Cargill, Mondelez, Mars, Hershey, Nestle, Olam, Blommer, Barry Callebaut.
We are grateful for the ongoing collaboration. And, even more, we are grateful for your commitment to empowering women in your business models and your value chains.
At USAID, we believe the purpose of our assistance must be eliminating the need for it to exist.
We believe in human dignity. We believe in the desire of every person, every family, every community, to want to lead their own bright future.
And where we find people and leaders who are willing to do the difficult things to lift their families and communities up, we believe it is our obligation to walk with you on that journey.
Empowering women to more fully participate in society is at the core of self-reliance, empowerment, and economic opportunity.
We know from our experience around the world that investing in women accelerates gains all across the development spectrum.
We also know that private enterprise is the most powerful force on earth for lifting lives out of poverty, for strengthening communities, for building self-reliance. And so, we embrace market-based solutions to development challenges.
Through efforts like Feed the Future, we have long worked with the Cocoa Foundation and the private sector to improve productivity with training, technical assistance, and inputs like seed and fertilizer.
We've also helped provide cocoa farmers with access to financial services through village savings and loan associations. These associations enable farmers to manage their savings; to draw on credit to invest in their families, their farms, and their businesses; and pool resources together to build community resilience.
Many women, like those here today, have benefitted from that assistance. Through their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, they have created jobs. They have created a future for their community.
But, we know that women face unique challenges in starting businesses, in growing businesses. And with women making up a substantial part of the workforce in Côte d'Ivoire's cocoa industry, we know there is more to do to empower women and help them realize their economic dreams.
And so, again, we are grateful to be here to see a model of what is working and to show us signs of what can be.
And now I'd like to turn it over to someone who knows a little bit about empowering women and knows even more about economic leadership.
Senior Advisor to the President Ms. Ivanka Trump. I think you can tell from what you have seen today — she is genuine, she is passionate, she is knowledgeable, she is unbending when it comes to this cause. And when she gets close to women who are dancing, she does a little bit of that as well.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.