September 6, 2019
Today, President Mario Abdo Benítez of the Republic of Paraguay received Advisor to the President of the United States of America Ivanka Trump at the Palacio de López in Asuncion, Paraguay, to discuss ways to deepen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and strategies to advance women’s economic empowerment. The Minister of Women Nilda Romero; Minister of Labor Carla Bacigalupo; and Minister of Industry and Commerce Liz Cramer also represented Paraguay at the meeting. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan; Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mark Green; Acting President and Chief Executive Officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) David Bohigian; and United States Ambassador to Paraguay Lee McClenny also participated on behalf of the United States.
The meeting reaffirmed the United States and Paraguay’s shared support for women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, including their support for access to skills training and capital, and commitment to address legal and cultural barriers, including women’s property and land rights. Representatives of both countries further reaffirmed their goals for women’s empowerment, including reducing gender disparities, eliminating gender-based violence, and increasing the capability of women and girls to determine their life outcomes.
As part of the dialogue, the President and First Lady of Paraguay briefed the United States delegation on ongoing Paraguayan government initiatives to empower women, such as entrepreneurship initiatives focused on access to credit and financial education. For example, the Paraguayan government’s Kuña Katupyry initiative provides loans for small- and medium-sized, women-led businesses through Paraguay’s National Development Bank.
The United States delegation informed President Abdo and Paraguayan Ministers of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which seeks to economically empower 50 million women across the developing world by 2025. As part of the W-GDP Initiative, the United States is working around the world to address legal and regulatory barriers that affect women’s ability to access institutions, build credit, manage property, travel freely, and work in the same sectors and jobs as men. In line with the objectives of the W-GDP Initiative, the United States launched 2X Americas last year at the Summit of the Americas in Peru to mobilize $500 million for women throughout Latin America. While in Paraguay, the United States delegation announced that 2X Americas is on track to surpass its $500 million contribution and will invest an additional $500 million in partnership with Citibank.
The Government of Paraguay expressed appreciation to the United States for its ongoing work in Paraguay supporting women’s economic empowerment and the objectives of the W-GDP Initiative, specifically:
- Loans provided by Citibank that focus on supporting women-led businesses in partnership with local banks Banco Regional and Banco Sudameris;
- The Dreambuilders Program with the Office of First Lady de Abdo and the Ministry for Women, which provides training for women entrepreneurs;
- The Okakuaa Project with the Ministry of Labor, which helps mothers obtain job training to alleviate the need for income from child labor;
- Support for rural women farmers to connect to markets; and
- Training provided for women political leaders through the Paraguayan Electoral Tribunal.
The United States and Paraguayan delegations will continue to promote effective laws, policies, and institutions to empower women economically. The officials recognized the importance of their strategic partnership and shared goals for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and noted their commitment to achieving these goals.