The Women’s Empowerment Through Trade Initiative Coffee Chat Series was held on March 9 with the attendance of U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Middle East and Africa Global Markets Camille Richardson. The virtual meeting featured speakers and panelists from the private and public sectors of Ethiopia and the United States.
The panel featured two Ethiopian entrepreneurs, Felekeche Biratu and Sara Yirga, and Business Development Specialist at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EX-IM) LaTaunya Darden as well. Felekeche Biratu is the co-founder of the Yenae Collection and a member of the Association of Women in Boldness (AWiB). Sara Yirga is the founder of Ya Coffee Roasters and Ethiopian Women in Coffee.
Both entrepreneurs shared valuable perspectives on opportunities in Ethiopia, female entrepreneurship, and potential for business relations between women-led businesses in the United States and Ethiopia. LaTaunya Darden outlined the important role that EX-IM can play in supporting U.S. exporters.
The Ethiopia Coffee Chat was the second of ten such engagements planned throughout the year by the Office of Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Department of Commerce. This series will include another webinar on March 31, 2021 organized in conjunction with the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, and will culminate in a multi-region event in Dubai in conjunction with Trade Winds Dubai, in March 2022.
The U.S. International Trade Administration also maintains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that intends to facilitate information-sharing and collaboration on commercial opportunities in priority sectors including coffee trade.