In a statement released this week, Hugo Llorens said that despite obstacles, Afghan women entrepreneurs are using their “talent, tenacity and ingenuity to succeed and contribute to building a better future for their families and their nation.”
He, however, noted that the rate of women’s participation in the workforce is not as desired.
“Still, women account for less than 20 percent of Afghanistan’s labor force; so much more needs to be done,” he said.
According to the envoy, some of the biggest hurdles that Afghan women face include access to capital, access to experience mentors and networks, and access to technical training and on-the-job experience.
Referring to the USAID’s Promote program, an aid program for Afghan women which was unveiled in 2013, Llorens said that the program has provided more than 4,000 women with internships and apprenticeships to help them gain the experience they need to compete on the job market.
He said that the program also identifies qualified women entrepreneurs in need of financial support and helps them secure investment loans. “Launched in July of 2015, this four-year, $71 million dollar program is giving Afghan women the momentum they need to get ahead.”
Llorens reiterated U.S. commitment to work with the Afghan government, NGOs, and international partners to continue supporting rising female entrepreneurs, and to provide training initiatives for the next generation of young Afghan women.