The Atlantic

The Ivanka Fund

How did the Trump administration end up spurring the creation of a gender-equality initiative for some of the world’s poorest women?
Source: Reuters

American dollars are now finding their way into the hands of female entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, Yemen, Nigeria, and Mali, among other countries, to be used to expand their businesses, improve their lives, and aid their countries’ development. This is happening with high-level international cooperation. It is happening with the instrumental help of the World Bank. It is happening on the advice of some of the world’s best development experts. It is benefiting some of the world’s poorest people. And it is in no small part thanks to the Trump administration.

The creation of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative—better known as We-Fi, or the “Ivanka Fund”—is one of the stranger policy achievements of President Donald Trump’s first year and change in office. The president is, after all, known for his skepticism of foreign aid and his distaste for soft power and sotto-voce diplomacy. He is also well known for his aversion to poorer places, reportedly describing African nations as “shithole countries” and grumbling that Haitians have AIDS. Then, there are the numerous sexual-harassment accusations against him, and the reality of his administration’s chaos-heavy, technocracy-light time in office.

Plus, the Trump Doctrine—one that extends to trade, immigration, sanctions, treaty negotiations, and foreign affairs—is zero sum and America First. It is grounded in the belief that there are winners and there are losers, and if one is not winning, one is losing. This doctrine seemingly extends to humanitarian aid and development policy, too, with experts having spent the months since Trump’s election bracing for deep cuts. “Globalism and multilateralism have gone substantially too far, to the point that they are hurting U.S. and global growth,” David Malpass, Trump’s top financial diplomat, late last year. “President Trump articulated a vision of international affairs in which each

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