African Women Entrepreneurs Expand Business Networks in the United States

Malian AWEP Alumna Ada Bocoum Sow with the Branch Chief for Africa’s International Visitor Leadership Program Andrew Lee, Washington DC July 2017

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

July 12, 2018

Twenty-two women entrepreneurs from 13 African countries arrive in the United States this week to connect with their American counterparts and accelerate the growth of their businesses. The businesswomen in this year’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) join a network that has created thousands of jobs and over 20 women’s business associations in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative promotes business growth and increases trade both regionally and with U.S. markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AWEP, which runs through July 27, is a special initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program, now in its ninth year of elevating women entrepreneurs who are transforming their societies through business, and are voices for social advocacy in their communities. The women will visit American private companies, business incubators, financial institutions, schools, and mentorship institutions.

The program begins in Washington, D.C., continues to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and then splits into smaller, sector-based groups in Atlanta, Portland, or San Diego. The entire AWEP group then comes together in Chicago for closing programming.

This year’s cohort represents Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe. The women will return home to continue their work as women advocates with AWEP chapters in more than a dozen countries.

For press inquiries on the program, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #AWEP.