The World Bank said it will start a fund to finance women entrepreneurs, an idea it developed in tandem with Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the U.S. president.
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative will make more than $1 billion available to improve access to capital for women, the Washington-based development institution said Saturday. The fund will provide technical assistance and invest in projects and programs that support women and women-led small- and mid-size businesses, said the World Bank, which bankrolls development in poor countries.
The fund cements the World Bank’s ties to the Trump family at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration has questioned the wisdom of financing poor countries and emerging markets with U.S. cash. In its budget proposal, the Trump administration called for cutting funding for the World Bank and other multilateral development lenders by $650 million over three years.
“Empowering women economically is a moral issue, but it’s also a critical economic issue,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in prepared remarks. “No country, organization, or economy can reach its full potential and meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of women and men.”
Trump’s daughter, who works in the White House as an adviser to her father, told reporters on a conference call that she won’t play a fundraising role but will be a “very strong advocate” for the fund.
The World Bank will be the trustee of the fund, which will be overseen by a governing committee representing the donors. The governing panel will have its first meeting in October, the bank said.
The bank targeted $200 million in grants from donor countries and $800 million from financial institutions and commercial contributors. However, the contributions will significantly exceed that amount, according to the development lender.