Fourteen US companies, including Amazon.com Inc. and Visa Inc., each pledged to provide at least 500,000 digital training and education opportunities to women and girls in the Indo-Pacific region as part of an initiative by the Biden administration.
Conducted within the wider 14-country Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), the program is focused on Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The IPEF Upskilling Initiative, which will provide a total of 7 million training opportunities over the next decade, was unveiled Thursday by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai at a two-day meeting of the Asian nations in Los Angeles.
The plan aims to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth while improving competitiveness in the region, they said.
Other companies involved in the initiative include American Tower Corp.; Apple Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc.; Dell Technologies Inc.; PR agency Edelman; Google, part of Alphabet Inc.; HP Inc.; International Business Machinery Corp.; MasterCard Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; PayPal Holdings Inc.; Salesforce Inc.; and Visa Inc.
Focus on middle-income emerging economies
The initiative, undertaken with The Asia Foundation, a non-profit development organization, targets emerging economies and middle-income countries in IPEF, including rich countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore.
“I’ve heard loud and clear from the region, especially in the developing world, ‘We need concrete benefits, tangible economic benefits,'” Raimondo said on Thursday at the initiative’s launch.
“I hear that and I promise you that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework will bring tangible economic benefits to your countries.”
The head of trade added that she hopes more companies will join the initiative and that it will expand beyond 14 countries.
The contribution of this initiative has the potential to be “immeasurably valuable” and have a lasting impact, Fijian Commerce Minister Faiyaz Koya said at the event.
The plan will strengthen the involvement of the US private sector in the fast-growing region in a way that will yield long-term dividends for the companies and employees in both the US and its partner countries, Commerce and USTR said in a statement announcing the strategy. The departments refused to disclose the value of the investments.
It will also support the region’s work to strengthen economic resilience, equity, inclusion and sustainability to help expand the middle class, as well as export opportunities for U.S. goods and services and regional trade and investment, the agencies said.
Finally, the approach will enable IPEF countries to promote cross-border data flows and online privacy, by fighting disinformation, corruption and cyber theft, by facilitating training in areas such as data, cloud and cybersecurity, the report said. Biden administration.