The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), launched by the U.S. Department of State in July 2010, assists women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa. These small and medium business owners are transforming their societies through economic development and social advocacy in their communities. AWEP alumni have created more than 17,000 jobs and established 22 women's business associations across Sub-Saharan Africa that are transforming societies and spurring economic growth.

AWEP U.S. - Africa Exchange

Through the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), approximately 30 African women entrepreneurs arrive in the United States each year to attend professional development meetings and network with U.S. policy makers, companies, industry associations, nonprofit groups, and multilateral development organizations. The three-week program allows the AWEP participants to share best practices, discuss common challenges and learn about the global economy and factors that lead to long-term business growth.

African Women: Drivers of Their Economies

AWEP promotes business growth and increased trade both regionally and to U.S. markets, including through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AWEP empowers thousands of African women entrepreneurs to create better business environments, spur economic growth and become voices of change in their communities.

photo of AWEP alumna
Cashews and the Lessons of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program
Minata Kone
2012 Alumna from Burkina Faso
Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Spurring economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is a policy priority for the United States. The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) directly supports the Presidential Policy Directive on U.S. strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa by:

  • supporting economic growth and trade through incorporating women into the economic sector and
  • promoting opportunity and development throughout the continent for women and youth.

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Barbara Rwodzi of Zimbabwe checks out the thread at the LA Fashion Institute.
Barbara R. Participant Sub-Saharan Africa International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Western Hemisphere Read the story