Islamabad, March 8, 2022: The U.S. Embassy held a virtual roundtable March 7 to discuss best practices for boosting supplier diversity and inclusion with Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asia Christopher Wilson. Executives and procurement heads of major U.S. and Pakistani corporations participated as roundtable speakers.
WEConnect International – a member-led global non-profit that helps women-owned businesses access and succeed in global value chains and a key partner of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council (USPWC) – moderated the roundtable. Local corporate buyers, government authorities, and women entrepreneurs and business owners also participated.
In welcoming the participants and launching the roundtable, U.S. Embassy Islamabad Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Rick Snelsire noted: “The United States supports governments that seek to improve their private-sector business climate…supporting women to have an equal and unfettered role in a country’s economy can have a real impact and improve economic growth.”
According to Assistant USTR Christopher Wilson: “Ensuring that women are more fully included in the benefits of trade is a top priority for United States trade policy. I’m pleased to hear from Pakistani leaders and to gain insights on how our governments and private sectors can collaborate to advance this objective.”
Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, moderated the roundtable and led the Q&A session. She said: “Connecting women-owned businesses to local and global value chains can create new jobs and help to close economic gender gaps, which could increase national GDP by 30%. This event is a strong example of how our collective impact, between the public and private sector, increases the likelihood of success as we work to create greater economic opportunities for women.”
A Pakistani Ministry of Commerce official also offered views on women’s economic empowerment.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad works with the USPWC, a public-private partnership between the U.S. State Department and Texas A&M University, to catalyze commitments from the private sector, civil society, and government leaders in both countries to advance women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan. Today’s event also allowed the participants to recognize and celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8.