Updated: November 28, 2017 8:19:13 pm
US President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser to the White House Ivanka Trump on Tuesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing in transformation change in the country and recognised his efforts in building India into a thriving economy and a beacon of democracy to the world.
“From your childhood selling tea to your election as India’s Prime Minister, you’ve proven that transformational change is possible,” Ivanka said in her keynote address to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which is being held in India for the first time.
Highlighting India’s battle against poverty, Ivanka said the country had lifted more than 130 million citizens out of penury. “Through your own enterprise, entrepreneurship and hard work, the people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty – a remarkable improvement. It will continue to grow under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. All of you are helping India’s middle-class reach its goal of nearly 500 million people by 2030,” Ivanka said. The US President’s daughter also said the Indian economy could grow by over $150 billion in the next three years if it was able to close the labour force gender gap by half.
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The election of Donald Trump as President has turned a page for US-India bilateral relations. Recently, Trump acknowledged India as a true friend of the White House. “It is a symbol of the strengthened friendship between our two peoples, and the growing economic and security partnership between our two nations,” Ivanka said.
The theme for this year’s summit is “Women first, prosperity for all” and for the first time, about 1,500 female entrepreneurs attended the event. The US President’s daughter lauded Modi for his belief that the progress of humanity was incomplete without the empowerment of women. “Only when women are empowered to thrive; will our families, our economies, and our societies reach their fullest potential,” she said.
Ivanka, whose clothing business has come under scrutiny for low wages and unsuitable working conditions, said despite the soaring rate of female entrepreneurs, women still faced steep obstacles to starting, owning, and growing their businesses. “Fuelling the growth of women-led businesses isn’t simply good for our society – it’s good for our economy. One study estimates that closing the gender entrepreneurship gap worldwide could grow our global GDP by as much as 2 per cent,” she said.
Ivanka also highlighted US efforts to promote women entrepreneurs. “The US Small Business Administration, for example, increased its lending to women by over 500 million dollars this year alone,” she emphasised. The US administration is fostering mentorship through programmes such as SCORE – a nation-wide initiative where successful men and women coach those who want to become their own CEOs.
She said at the G20 conference, the US was a founding member of a bold, new initiative with the World Bank – the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or WeFi. This facility would provide access to capital, networks, and mentorship for women in developing countries, she said.
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