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Deputy Assistant USTR talks Women Economic Empowerment

This week, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Mara Burr spoke at the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce, and moderated a panel entitled “Empowering Women to Promote Economic Growth and Stability.” The event marked the progress of the U.S.-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), signed in 2004 to improve the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan.  A key goal of the TIFA is to promote economic opportunities for both Parties.  In 2011 the United States and Afghanistan agreed that promoting economic opportunities for women is a high priority for the TIFA Council and created a TIFA Working Group on women’s economic empowerment.  In June 2013, the United States and Afghanistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), reinforcing the joint efforts to enable the economic empowerment of Afghan women.

DAUSTR BurrDeputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Mara Burr speaks at the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce

The objective of the MOU is to provide the U.S. and Afghan governments with a framework for cooperative work under the auspices of the TIFA Council and provide a platform for addressing barriers to women’s entrepreneurship while creating initiatives to help women start, run, and grow their own businesses. The MOU promotes the economic empowerment of women, and helps ensure that women are afforded economic and business opportunities comparable to their male counterparts.

“A key aspect of development for Afghanistan is ensuring that it is taking advantage of all of its resources, both women and men, to contribute to its economic growth”  said Burr.  The focus of the panel discussion was how governments and the private sector can work together to identify and eliminate impediments to women entrepreneurs and women business owners.

Under the  MOU, the U.S. and Afghanistan acknowledge the importance of promoting business opportunities for women as a means to improve their bilateral trade relationship, and strengthen the overall global economy. To learn more about the U.S.-Afghanistan Memorandum of Understanding, please click here.