Libya and Tunisia Join African Diaspora Marketplace

(PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined the Western Union Company and its foundation in adding Libya and Tunisia to the second African Diaspora Marketplace.

The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) encourages sustainable economic growth and employment in Africa by supporting U.S.-based diaspora entrepreneurs.

In response to rapid changes across the Middle East and North Africa, USAID began redirecting assistance and putting new programs into place — laying the foundation for a democratic future and economic prosperity, USAID said in a press release. Grants awarded for startup or existing small and medium enterprises initiated by the Libyan and Tunisian diaspora will focus on high-priority, high-impact sectors that meet immediate and evolving development needs.

“The events of the past year have offered USAID opportunities to adjust our approaches to assistance in the Middle East and North Africa regions and forge new partnerships across Arab societies,” said Mara Rudman, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Middle East. “I’m excited these new partnerships also include the ADM initiative and the diaspora who want to make a difference in their homelands during a historical time.”

“The ADM is an innovative model for corporate, government and nonprofit collaboration to promote entrepreneurship and the employment it supports. Expanding the ADM to Tunisia and Libya leverages its unique benefits to help create lasting social and economic impact,” said Aida Diarra, Western Union’s regional vice president for North, Central and West Africa.

Currently, 21 countries qualify for consideration of proposals to be submitted by February 3, 2012. Participating countries include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Côte D’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

The number of grants awarded will be determined by the grant pool and program need. The matching grant size is expected to be up to $50,000, with a supplement of $25,000 to $50,000 in technical assistance.

Support for the Marketplace is also provided by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-funded foundation that promotes the competitiveness of the African private sector, and George Washington University’s Center for International Business Education and Research.

Information about the African Diaspora Marketplace and how to apply can be found at www.diasporamarketplace.org.

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