President Donald Trump said on Saturday the US would contribute $50 million to a new World Bank fund conceived by his daughter that aims to help women entrepreneurs access capital and other support.
Ivanka Trump joined World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on the sidelines of the Group of 20 world leaders’ summit in Hamburg, Germany, to launch the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative.
Kim said the fund had raised more than $325 million so far for projects and programs to support women and women-led businesses by improving access to capital and markets, providing technical assistance, training and mentoring, and pushing public policy. The fund grew out of conversations between Ivanka Trump and Kim early in Trump’s administration.
“This is not a cute little project,” Kim said during a panel discussion, arguing the effort would spur real economic growth.
President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke at the event, where Trump said the fund would help eliminate barriers for women to launch businesses, help transform “millions and millions of lives,” and “provide new hope to these women from countless communities all across the world.”
“The critical investments we’re announcing today will help advance the economic empowerment of women around the world,” he said.
The commitment comes as the Trump administration has proposed dramatic cuts to diplomatic and development funding in line with the president’s “America First” foreign policy doctrine.
Saudi, UAE contributions
In addition to the US, Germany and Canada, the new fund has also received contributions from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Australia, China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and South Korea.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump frequently criticized rival Hillary Clinton’s ties to her family’s Clinton Foundation, which received millions in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other Mideast nations for charitable work.
During an October general election debate in Las Vegas, Trump demanded that Clinton “give back the money you’ve taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so terrible.”
He said then: “Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off ... buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money.”
Officials stressed that Ivanka Trump will not have an operational or fundraising role with the fund, which will be run by a governing committee of contributors.