Washington, DC - I recently traveled to Africa to advance the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, or W-GDP, which seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025. We will work to achieve this goal by supporting women in the workplace, helping them succeed as entrepreneurs, and by advancing legal reforms that will create greater gender equality.

The most remarkable part of the trip was connecting with women from across the continent who have overcome tremendous barriers to pave the way to change. Their stories are tangible proof of what is possible if we deliver smart development assistance to empower women to succeed in their economies.

In Ethiopia, I met Sara Abera. Fourteen years ago, Sara started Muya, a textiles and pottery manufacturing business. With assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and private sector partners, she has grown her business from less than 10 to nearly 600 employees. Sara hires and trains women, creating a direct multiplier effect, benefiting thousands of families far past the initial investment of American foreign development assistance. Today, Sara is Ethiopia’s top exporter of handmade woven garments and pottery and her products sit on the shelves of stores across the United States.

Read the full op-ed here.