Supplemental pool - Ivanka

From: Andrew BEATTY
Date: July 8, 2017 at 5:10:42 PM GMT+2
Subject: Supplemental pool - Ivanka

This supplemental pool for the Ivanka event earlier comes courtesy of Andrea Shalal of Reuters.

White House adviser Ivanka Trump on Saturday joined a panel that included World Bank President IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and three female entrepreneurs from Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa to discuss the World Bank’s new Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

World Bank President President Jim Yong Kim said the project had drawn rapid support from a number of big countries, including Germany, the United States, Saudi Arabia and UAE after it was first initiated about five months ago. He said Ivanka Trump was the catalyst for long-overdue action, bringing her own business experience and clout to what he said would be an important initiative to drive economic growth and help reduce chronic inequities still facing women, especially in developing countries. “This is going to be a what we hope will be a multibillion dollar fund to support women entrepreneurs,” he said.

Ivanka, who wore a pink tailored dress,  said it was exciting how quickly the project caught on. “It all started in a conversation with President Kim about what’s being done around the world to fuel female entrepeneurship. And we all know, and study after study shows, showed that investing in women is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also a very strategically prudent thing to do as you think about developing those economies.” She said she was surprised at how little was being done to promote female business-owners.  She said there was a female credit deficit of around $300 billion.

Kim noted that he was the only man on the panel and said it gave him insight into what Lagarde, who had been the first female G7 finance minister, faced at events she attended as the only woman.  “I’m quite overwhelmed to be the only man on this panel,” he said. He said the initiative was needed given ongoing issues that women faced in getting credit for their ventures. Ivanka’s backing was important, he said. “We haven’t done this before and at this speed because we haven’t had a global champion who was willing to put it all on the line. When you have a champion it always works better if the champion knows the field and knows what they’re talking about.” He said the bank had received $325 million in initial donations, and more could still come in.

“The moral imperative is so clear,” Kim said, adding that it also made sense to invest in women because they were more credit-worthy, invested in their families and communities and hired more women. “We think that this is going to be a major driver of economic growth in the future.

This is not a cute little project. This is going to drive economic growth and it’s going to drive gender equality at the same time,” he said.

Lagarde said the project made sense. “For anyone who is results-driven, investing in women is a no-brainer,” she said.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, seated in the front row of the audience, also welcomed creation of the facility.

“The empowerment of women is absolutely essential,” he said, noting that the world was seeing a certain regression in women’s rights and issues especially in the private setor. He cited areas such as the digital and high-tech sectors where he said “male dominated cultures” were developing.

“This is a crucial battle and you are in the center of that battle,” he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the event, and later told the audience that Canada was promoting a new feminist guided foreign policy. He said Canada was donating $20 million for the fund.  “If we want to change the world, we have to invest in women,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin also were in the room. Merkel said the initiative proved that the G20 was more than just a two-day summit, noting that the initiative was first discussed several months ago during a G20 event focused on women that Ivanka Trump also attended. Ivanka Trump kissed Merkel when she arrived. Merkel made a special point of saying goodbye to her before she left the event, also posing for selfies with the women entrepreneurs.  She lauded the speed with which the new credit facility had been created. “If everything went as quickly at the World Bank … then we would be much more efficient.”

Several other G20 leaders joined President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  Upbeat mood all around.

Andrea Shalal
Senior Correspondent

Thomson Reuters

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