Canada pledges $20M for women's entrepreneurship program

Canada will contribute $20 million Cdn to help female entrepreneurs in developing countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday while he attended the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Initiative formally rolled out at G20 summit has raised more than $325M

From left to right, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, U.S. President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pose for a photo to promote the Women’s Entrepreneurship Finance event during the G20 summit. (Michael Kappeler/Reuters)

Canada will contribute $20 million Cdn to help female entrepreneurs in developing countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday while he attended the G20 summit in Hamburg.

He joined other leaders in congratulating the World Bank on news that it was launching the public-private loan program, an initiative championed by U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

Initial funding of $325 million US for the project includes large donations from Germany, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the bank said. Trump has said the U.S. will commit $50 million US to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). 

The program, formally rolled at the summit, will address the difficulty women-owned small and medium-sized businesses face in developing countries. It's estimated 70 per cent of these businesses either cannot get loans from financial institutions or obtain financing that meets their needs.

"Canada's support for We-Fi complements our new Feminist International Assistance Policy, which recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world," Trudeau said in a statement.  

"Though Ivanka Trump will be an advocate for We-Fi moving forward, the White House has said she will play no operational, administrative or fund-raising role in the initiative," CNN reports.

Trump on Saturday praised his daughter, Ivanka, and acknowledged the challenges he has added to her life.

In a rare, self-deprecating moment, the president said during remarks in Hamburg that he's been proud of his eldest daughter from "day one."

"If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her," he said, adding with a laugh: "That might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth."

The candid aside came as Trump was speaking at the launch of a new women's entrepreneurship fund that Ivanka Trump helped bring together.​






With files from Reuters and The Associated Press