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US Second Gentleman meets Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister in Apia

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 24 JULY 2023:  The visiting United States Second Gentleman, Douglas Emhoff met with Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio in a closed door meeting in Apia today.

Emhoff and his delegation were welcomed by Tuala before he visited the Women in Business Development Inc. (WIBDI) that is receiving financial assistance from the United States targeting the economic development and empowerment of women.

Emhoff is the husband of the United States Vice President Kamala Harris and is the highest profile US official to visit Samoa so far as the US increases and strengthens ties with the Pacific Islands.

Recently the Pacific Island Forum Secretary, Henry Puna noted the renewed geo-political interest in the Pacific region, especially the US who has been absent from the Pacific islands for a long time.

Speaking when he visited the Women in Business, Emhof said the US and Samoa have shared goals in tackling the climate crisis, investing in economic development, and empowering women.

“The United States is proud to invest in Samoan women and families through Women in Business Development Incorporated. Thank you to WIBDI for everything you do to promote economic development,” he said.

“My wife has spent her career fighting for women and children — as a prosecutor, a United States Senator, and now as Vice President.

I’ve seen Kamala all around the world – from Southeast Asia to the continent of Africa – meeting with women entrepreneurs, and investing in them. Because she knows, when you lift up women, you lift up the status of families and communities, and all of society benefits.

He also announced $2.6 million from USAID in disaster risk reduction for Samoa and other Pacific countries.

The funds will help local farmers improve their resilience against disasters and help improve messaging around preparedness.

“The United States would like to further support Samoa and listen to its needs, such as the threat of tsunamis,” he said.

Mr. Emhoff is leading the US Presidential delegation to the opening ceremony of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in New Zealand.