An initiative championed by Ivanka Trump to get $1 billion of financing into the hands of female entrepreneurs and small-business owners worldwide just got the greenlight.
Ivanka Trump’s brainchild, the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, adopted its governing framework last week and announced that it would award $150 million on its first round of proposals by mid-December. To avoid conflicts or impropriety, Trump will not be a part of the fund’s governance.
So far, the Bank beat its fundraising goals of $325 million in commitments (which was raised from $200 million) with over $340 million in funds – $50 million of which was pledged by the U.S.
During comments at a World Bank/IMF meeting last week, Trump explained:
“Fully unleashing the power of women in our economy will create tremendous value but also bring much-needed peace, stability and prosperity to many regions,” Trump said during an event at the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
“They say that women invest 90 cents on the dollar back in their family, their family’s education, their family’s health and their community at large.”
Trump brought the idea to Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President, in April and he ran with it. The fund is reportedly serving as a “bridge” with the Trump administration, which has expressed some skepticism of the World Bank and may reduce committements to a separate fund that helps the poorest countries by 15 percent. Rightly so.
Funding female small business owners through loans sounds like a sound investment for a global pool of funds. After all, capitalism would do more to lift people out of poverty and provide them sustainable income than giving away cash.
The World Bank is supposed to focus on development projects such as schools, roads, and dams in the world’s poorest countries. Housing this fund there seems reasonable until we consider that the World Bank is a muddled pool of corruption and has failed to fight corruption in receiving countries, which stifles democracy and the market from working for its citizens.
The World Bank suffers from its own internal corruption which campaigns to root it out have struggled to address. Several years ago, a whistleblower exposed massive corruption by a small network of financial institutions that controlling the global economy through World Bank. A 2013 report by Global Financial Integrity found that over 30-year period, some $1.4 trillion was siphoned out of Africa through illicit transactions. The list goes on.
Ivanka Trump’s heart is in the right place. Empowering women for business is a sure-fire way to help them support their families and communities.
Let’s just hope that the funds raised actually get into the hands of poor women rather than becoming a slush fund for graft, corruption, and theft. U.S. taxpayers expect much more.