BOGOTA (Reuters) – Women entrepreneurs play a “vital role” in Colombia’s economic development and its transition to peace, White House adviser Ivanka Trump said on a visit to Bogota on Tuesday.
The daughter of US President Donald Trump attended a launch event for the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a US government-funded initiative to reduce barriers to women’s economic participation.
Colombia, long the closest US ally in the region, is the first stop on a tour of Latin America that will also take Trump to Paraguay and Argentina.
Forty Colombian women will initially benefit from participation in the program, said Trump, who was accompanied at the event by Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez.
The academy is “designed to equip women with the practical skills they need to build sustainable businesses and participate more fully in the global economy,” Trump said.
“This is particularly important in Colombia where women play an increasingly critical role in the economic development of the country and the continued transition to peace,” she added.
The country’s previous government and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a controversial peace deal in 2016, ending the group’s role in five decades of conflict that left some 260,000 dead.
The deal has run into hurdles, including President Ivan Duque’s unsuccessful efforts to change some provisions, delays in veterans grants and the announcement last week by several former commanders that they would rearm.
The announcement was condemned by the government, the United Nations and the FARC political party, whose leadership said the majority of ex-rebels remained engaged despite “the difficulties and dangers.”
Reporting by Andres Rojas; Written by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Richard Chang