Readout of SBA Administrator Guzman’s Visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Meeting with Prime Minister Mambé


Trip Part of Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Deepening Partnership with African Countries

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Nov. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, as part of President Biden’s ongoing efforts to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and Africa, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), met with Prime Minister Robert Mambé in Abidjan. The meeting was part of Administrator Guzman’s multi-day trip to West Africa, where she met with national leaders and local entrepreneurs in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire to promote entrepreneurship and highlight trade opportunities for small businesses.

During their meeting, Administrator Guzman and Prime Minister Robert Mambé discussed the United States’ commitment to Africa, exporting opportunities between the two countries, the SBA’s friendship with Côte d’Ivoire and how the SBA supports small businesses within the African diaspora.


Administrator Guzman was also the guest of honor at a small group dinner with local entrepreneurs and American embassy staff, where she heard their insights into the status of small business, women’s entrepreneurship and investment opportunities and challenges in Côte d’Ivoire. Administrator Guzman additionally participated in a roundtable with representatives of multilateral development banks to discuss their analysis of the local economy, as well as their assistance programs, particularly with a focus on private sector development, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation. They also discussed how SBA is increasing access to capital and growing the network of resources, resource partners, and opportunities for small businesses in the United States to thrive.  

Administrator Guzman also engaged in efforts to support local female entrepreneurs, including through a DigiFemmes site visit and tour, where she learned about initiatives to empower female business owners in Abidjan. Later in the day, she participated in a reception for women entrepreneurs dedicated to celebrating women and youth, digital transformation, and commercial ties. In the evening, Administrator Guzman participated in a meet and greet fair with six local business owners, where she learned from their experiences in Côte d’Ivoire and with USG programs as well as their challenges and successes operating in Abidjan.

Administrator Guzman is the first SBA administrator to travel to West Africa. This historic visit showcases how this Administration’s whole-of-government approach is delivering on crucial commitments President Biden announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2022.

For follow-up interview requests for Administrator Guzman, please contact Rebecca
Galanti at [email protected].

Event Photos (available upon request to [email protected]: 

Small Business Expo

Image Description: SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman (R) meets with local entrepreneurs in Abidjan.

Image Description: SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman (Center L) and Ambassador Jessica Ba (Center R) meet with local entrepreneurs in Abidjan.

Image Description: SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman (Center L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Robert Mambé (Center R) beside Ambassador Jessica Ba (L) and Agriculture Minister Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani (R) in Abidjan.

Image Description: SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman (C) tries on traditional garb beside Ambassador Jessica Ba (L) and Agriculture Minister Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani (R) in Abidjan.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration 
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

CONTACT: Christine Saah-Nazer U.S. Small Business Administration 202-756-0304 [email protected] Rebecca Galanti U.S. Small Business Administration [email protected] Han Nguyen U.S. Small Business Administration [email protected] 

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