Application Deadline for African Diaspora Marketplace Extended to February 15th

WASHINGTON & ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-( Business Wire )-

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services, its Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have extended the application deadline for the African Diaspora Marketplace to February 15, 2012. The ADM is an initiative that encourages sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based diaspora entrepreneurs with ideas for start-up and established businesses in Africa. Western Union Agent and pan-African banking group Ecobank Group also announces its intention to join the second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM).

The initiative will build on successes from the first African Diaspora Marketplace held in 2010: focusing grants toward high priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology (ICT). Ecobank Group also supported the first African Diaspora Marketplace.

“We are delighted to bring Ecobank on board again for the second ADM,” said Aida Diarra, Western Union regional vice president for North, Central and West Africa. “Western Union and Ecobank have a long-standing relationship in Africa and through this collaboration we are helping to tap the economic potential of the 1.4 million Africans living in the U.S. The ADM will strengthen and help satisfy demand for locally-produced products and services by leveraging diaspora capital and resources.”

“Ecobank is pleased to support this initiative as it offers an opportunity for us to partner with others who are committed to the economic development of Africa,” said Arnold Ekpe, Group CEO of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group. “For us, the ADM complements Ecobank’s mission of reaching out to the millions of Africans residing abroad and encouraging them to invest in Africa’s future,” Ekpe added.

George Washington University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) will provide research expertise and also evaluate the initial phase of business proposals.

Twenty-one countries qualify for consideration – proposals need to be submitted by February 15, 2012. The deadline was extended from February 3, 2012. Participating countries include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The number of grants awarded will be determined based on grant pool and program need, and is likely to be in the range of 15-30 businesses. The anticipated matched grant size is expected to be approximately US $50,000.00, with an additional supplement of US $25-50,000.00 in technical assistance.

Information about the ADM and how to apply can be found at

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2011, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 485,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit

About the Western Union Foundation

Through Western Union’s Our World, Our Family(R) signature program, the Western Union Foundation supports initiatives to empower people through access to economic opportunity. Recognized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in 2009, the program is a five-year, $50 million commitment reflecting efforts made by Western Union employees, Agents and partners around the world. Since 2001, the Western Union Foundation has awarded more than $73.4 million in grants to more than 2010 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 104 countries and territories. To learn more, visit


USAID is the lead U.S. government agency providing development and humanitarian assistance to people around the world. USAID works in 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa to promote good governance and democracy, broad-based economic growth, high quality health care and education, and peaceful and secure communities. The agency’s Global Development Alliance (GDA) links U.S. foreign assistance with the resources, expertise and creativity of the private sector as well as nongovernmental organizations. Since its launch in 2001, the Global Development Alliance has changed the way U.S. international development projects are financed and implemented. By cultivating more than 900 public-private alliances with over 1,700 individual partners, it has allowed USAID to leverage an additional $9.6 billion in resources for development. For more information about USAID and its programs around the world, visit For more information on Global Development Alliances, visit

About Ecobank Group

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is the parent company of the Ecobank Group, which is present in more countries in Africa than any other bank in the world. Ecobank currently operates in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group also has an affiliate in Paris and representative offices in Dubai, Johannesburg, London and Luanda. ETI is listed on the stock exchanges in Lagos, Accra and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) – the BRVM. The Group has over 23 000 employees from 35 different countries in over 1,100 branches. Ecobank is a full service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transactional banking services to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, local companies, SMEs and individuals. For more information, please visit:

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Western UnionAnna Alejo, 720-332-3884anna.alejo@westernunion.comorUSAIDNatasha Jackson, 202-712-1647Press

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