Obama Promotes US-Muslim Relations in Entrepreneurial Summit

President Barack Obama advanced the U.S.-Muslim ties by hosting a summit for businessmen from Muslim nations. Above, he addressed the crowd's questions at the Forum Building in Harrisburg on March 30, 2008. Photo by: Bill D'Agostino / CC BY-NC 2.0 Bill D'AgostinoCC BY-NC 2.0

More than 250 successful entrepreneurs from 50 countries with large Muslim populations gathered in Washington on April 26 for an entrepreneurial summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, Reuters reports. The summit, which will run until through 27, is billed as the fulfillment of Obama’s June 2009 pledge in Cairo to further U.S.-Muslim relations, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” says.

The summit aims to create a venue for business and social entrepreneurs, development bankers, venture capitalists and other business experts to discuss and share ideas to support business networks and promote development in Muslim countries, The New York Times reports.

In support of the summit, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced 13 new partnerships that aim to advance economic growth and entrepreneurship in countries with large Muslim populations. These projects include the Middle East and North Africa Investment Fund, which will be established with Qatar-based social enterprise Silatech, and the Global Impact Investing Rating System, which is a collaboration between USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation, Deloitte and Prudential, among other partners. The rating system aims to help entrepreneurs, fund managers and companies to raise money based on the environment and social impact of their businesses.

Also among the 13 partnerships is a planned collaboration with the World Bank and 15 governments to introduce a variety of reforms with direct financial gains to firms throughout the MENA region.

USAID is also partnering with Cisco to provide entrepreneurship training and education in 10 MENA countries. The courses will be available in local languages and delivered through the Internet and similar platforms.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.