Ambassador Gilmour’s remarks during AWEP Boutique inauguration

Ambassador Remarks
Inauguration of AWEP Boutique
Cacavelli Market
September 5, 2018 at 10 AM

Madame the Minister of Trade
Madame the coordinator of AWEP Togo
Mesdames, the members of theTogo AWEP Chapter
Honored guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning. It’s an honor and a pleasure for me to join you this morning for the inauguration of the new AWEP Foodies boutique.

This ceremony marks an important milestone for AWEP Togo, and I think this is an appropriate moment to take stock of how much the ladies of AWEP Togo have accomplished.

AWEP stands for « African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. » This is a professional exchange program started by the U.S. government in 2010 in order to create more opportunities for African businesswomen and to build networks of women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the AWEP network is comprised of women with small and medium-sized enterprises in the agri-business, food processing, textile, fashion, home accessories, and other sectors in 48 countries and 31 chapters across Africa.

Last year, the seven women from Togo who participated in the AWEP professional exchange program joined with other Togolese female entrepreneurs to create the Togo AWEP Chapter.

Since it’s launch in February of last year the Togo AWEP Chapter has proved to be one of the most dynamic chapters in West Africa. Last summer, AWEP Togo organized the AWEP En Route campaign, which included training sessions for small business owners across the country, to encourage entrepreneurship and to promote greater economic cooperation with the U.S. Then, in August 2017, AWEP Togo played a crucial role in the successful organization of the AGOA Trade Forum, which took place here in Lome.

As AWEP Togo has become more prominent it has attracted more members. There are currently more than 50 members in the AWEP Togo Chapter, organized into three categories : agro-food, cosmetics, and textiles. And each one of these sub-chapters has developed a strong business plan to begin combining their energies and their resources to start exporting to regional and international markets.

So, in the span of just a few years, AWEP Togo has gone from non-existence to being a powerful, well-organized network of women businessowners recognized at the national and international levels. And the AWEP Foodies Boutique which we are opening today is the proof of the high quality and diversity of the products produced by AWEP members.

And so to the AWEP participants, let me say, “Congratulations” on this great showcase today, and on all you have accomplished so far. And I congratulate you, in advance, on your future successes, which I am sure will come.