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The Asia Foundation Partners with U.S. Commerce Department to Launch Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity Upskilling Initiative

Private Sector Commitments Will Provide Digital Skills to Seven Million Women and Girls

San Francisco, September 9, 2022 — Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Upskilling Initiative. This public-private endeavor supports sustainable and inclusive economic growth by providing primarily women and girls in IPEF emerging economies and middle-income partner countries access to digital skills training. Countries taking part include Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

With deep expertise in supporting good governance, women’s empowerment, and inclusive economic growth throughout the region, The Asia Foundation is partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce to implement the initiative.

“We are committed to offering tangible and concrete benefits to the partner countries participating in IPEF, and these private sector commitments are a tremendous opportunity for us to bring millions of women and girls into the middle class,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Upskilling Initiative not only demonstrates the United States’ commitment to creating a more vibrant and competitive Indo-Pacific region but also our intention of sending a strong signal to IPEF partners that we, along with some of America’s leading private sector companies, want to build lasting relationships and provide concrete benefits to participants in the framework.”

“As we continue to work together to build a more inclusive, sustainable economic recovery, and as we discuss innovative ways to do trade under the IPEF, we must prioritize lifelong learning for our women,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We must equip them with relevant skills to help them thrive in the digital and green economies of the future. Trade can be an important tool to advance these goals and that is why this initiative is so important.”

“The Asia Foundation is proud to join with the U.S. Department of Commerce and leading U.S. corporations in undertaking this large-scale, multi-faceted upskilling initiative,” said President and CEO of The Asia Foundation David Arnold. “By working together with government agencies, NGOs, educational institutions, and leading women’s organizations across Asia and the Pacific, I am confident we can not only spark a digital-led recovery, but greatly expand economic opportunities for women and close the gender digital divide.”

This initiative reflects the deep and abiding support of both the U.S. government and its private sector to the long-term economic development of the IPEF partners. Fourteen U.S. companies—Amazon and Amazon Web Services, American Tower, Apple, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Edelman Global Advisory, Google, HP, IBM, MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce, and Visa—will each provide 500,000 or more upskilling opportunities that use digital tools for primarily women and girls in IPEF emerging economies and middle-income countries by 2032.

Opportunities provided by the companies include:

  • Training for girls in fields such as data science, cyber-security, artificial intelligence, and robotics
  • Providing female small business owners with a comprehensive digital toolkit that includes website planning and development, search engine optimization and marketing, budgeting, and social media
  • Supporting digital literacy and entrepreneurship training for rural girls and women via solar-paneled mobile bus training centers
  • Training authors and illustrators in digital content creation designed to empower girls and provide that content through low bandwidth reading apps to enhance girls’ literacy

View the Commerce announcement and read the IPEF Upskilling Initiative for Women and Girls fact sheet.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
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