Accra, GHANA –Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce, traveled to Accra from June 24 – 26, 2019. During her visit, she met with Government of Ghana officials, private sector representatives, local entrepreneurs, alumni from U.S. exchange programs, and university administrators to promote the United States of America’s’ cultural and educational diplomacy efforts, and highlight support for entrepreneurship in Ghana.
Assistant Secretary Royce met with the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah on Monday, June 24, to reaffirm the U.S. government’s goal to facilitate partnerships among American and Ghanaian universities, as well as to expand academic opportunities for Ghanaian youth to study in the United States. The Assistant Secretary also met with heads of public and private universities and administrators, and private sector representatives to deepen educational linkages between the United States and Ghana to further strengthen women’s economic empowerment.
On Tuesday, June 25, Assistant Secretary Royce formally launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program, a new initiative supporting women entrepreneurs around the world. AWE will provide online education resources, foster networks that support access to mentorships, and connect women through existing exchange programs. The inaugural cohort will feature women in 26 countries, including 10 in Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. AWE is a part of the U.S. Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a whole-of-government effort to advance global women’s economic empowerment established in February 2019.
Following the launch of AWE, the Assistant Secretary visited an African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)-supported and woman-owned organic foods company, Kroms, and met with the Founder and CEO Georgina Coomson. Launched by the U.S. Department of State in July 2010, AWEP assists women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa who are transforming their societies through economic development and social advocacy in their communities.
Assistant Secretary Royce delivered a keynote address to 40 exchange program alumni from 14 African countries at an Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar on women’s entrepreneurship on Wednesday, June 26. Under the theme “Strengthening Business and Trade for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa,” participant-led sessions addressed topics such as mentoring, access to capital, business expansion best practices, and overcoming barriers to women in business.