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Ivanka Trump promotes businesswomen after Ivory Coast cocoa farm visit

By Ange Aboa
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White House Advisor Ivanka Trump attends the first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) at the Sofitel hotel Ivoire in Abidjan

White House Advisor Ivanka Trump attends the first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) at the Sofitel hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

By Ange Aboa

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivanka Trump vowed support for initiatives to promote women in business on Wednesday, after visiting an Ivorian cocoa farm on the second leg of her African tour.

U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, who works as his adviser, was speaking at a forum on women's economic empowerment in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan.

She arrived in Ivory Coast on Tuesday, after visiting Ethiopia. Ivanka is championing the Women's Global Development and Prosperity initiative, which officials have said aims to economically empower 50 million women by 2025.

"It's a social justice issue, it's an economic issue, it's a defence issue, and it just plain makes sense," she said of women's economic empowerment in Africa.

But she added that "there are substantial barriers," such as lack of access to capital for 70 percent of female business owners, and that women made up just 15 percent of land owners on the continent.

Earlier she visited a cocoa farm in Adzope, in southeastern Ivory Coast, where she announced a US AID and World Cocoa Foundation initiative to give $2 million to female cocoa farmers.

Ivory Coast produces more than a third of the world's cocoa.


(Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Toby Chopra)