Easier trade between African countries to help women

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A continental gathering organized by the Centre for African Women and Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) concluded that intra-African Trade should increase in order to take advantage of opportunities. To encourage this women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment must be promoted.
During the gathering held last Tuesday at the African Union Hall with the theme “Boosting Intra African Trade, African Women Taking the lead”, President Shale Work Zewdie, Fathi Mahmat African Union Commissioner, and high officials attended the inaugural summit.
“African women entrepreneurs should work to catch the untapped market opportunities within the continent”, Shale Work Zewdie said.
African States have an intra-trade rate of 16 percent, the lowest in the world whereas Asian countries have an intra-trade trade rate of 60 percent.
“African women are the majority of the African population and the backbone of the economy it is for all those reasons that the AU places women’s issues in their all programs to finance women entrepreneurs,” said Fatih Mahmat African Union Commissioner.
The commissioner further stressed the need to produce quality products and consume within the continents adding that the core of AFCTA is boosting intra-Trade for economic development.
“We need to focus on trade instead of aid as it fuels the economy through job creation by centering the majority of women entrepreneurs,” said Nigist Haile CAWEE Executive Director.
“Working on value-chains through the provision of technical and marketable skills that can help women to get involved in income generating activities,” Nigist adds.
Close to 200 women entrepreneurs from across African continents were participating in the first gathering and a sideline showcased their local products aiming at promoting “Made in Africa” “Buy in Africa”.
Established some 16 years ago, CAWEE had been working in organizing advocacy, consultative forums which addressed the challenges Ethiopian women entrepreneurs face in order to create a class of globally competitive women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia.
CAWEE also has a program formed in part of the overall response to African regional integration challenges and is aligned to NEPAD’s broad vision of economic growth led by the private sector and rooted in greater regional and inter-regional trade.
According to Nigist, CAWEE planned to conduct the gathering every year in the seat of AU in partnership with the UN agencies and AU various commissions in order to encourage African women entrepreneurs taking the opportunities to benefit from untapped market.