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Women Traders in AfCFTA event expand SMEs operations in Africa

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The much anticipated ‘Women Traders in the AfCFTA’ event came off over the weekend at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The event, which was attended by Her Excellency, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, brought together business leaders, and AfCFTA entrepreneurs among others, to discuss opportunities to expand women-led SMEs operations in Africa and around the world, at the women’s Pavilion in collaboration with Cartier.

The maiden event was a combination of panel discussions, keynote speakers, roundtable, and masterclasses highlighting outstanding contributions, successes made by the women and the challenges they faced and shared lessons learned.

It also provided an opportunity for in-person and virtual participants to do the matchmaking, B2B marketplace and virtually exhibit their goods and services through the ‘Women Traders in the AfCFTA’ event platform.

Among the speakers at the event were His Excellency Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Commercial affairs and regulations, Ministry of Economy United Arab Emirates, Madam Valentina Mintah, Founder West Blue Consulting and Member of the ICC Executive Board, John W.H. Denton AO, Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Laura Lane, Chief Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer, UPS, Dorothy Tembo, Deputy Executive Director, International Trade Centre (online participation) and Yinka Sanni, Chief Executive Officer of Africa Regions, Standard Bank (online participation).

About Women Traders in the AfCFTA

The Women Traders in the AfCFTA was founded by ICC, UPS, Trade Law Centre (Tralac), and West Blue Consulting through a partnership to support women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The aim of the partnership includes building on the recent launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), to help women-led SMEs expand their operations to new marketplaces in Africa and around the world.

Through the establishment of the ‘Women Traders in the AfCFTA’ working group, the partners will collaborate with interest groups, trade associations, and other stakeholders to support women-led SMEs and entrepreneurs in the region.

The partners will offer practical support in the areas of capacity building programmes and tools, a trade and information portal www.etradehubs.com, and advocate for enabling public policy and create electronic guidelines to help women entrepreneurs scale-up and digitise their businesses.

The partners will also work together to help SMEs and Entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth, to digitise and scale up by providing access to training, webinars, workshops.

To complement the Digitise 5 million SMEs campaign and the ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship, the partners will work together to create a Trade Information and Tools Portal called www.etradehubs.com leveraging existing tools in the region and creating new tools are required.

The parties will also develop electronic collateral and guidelines to orient businesses in the region about the new trade rules of the AfCFTA, etc.

In addition to working with women entrepreneurs to support capacity building, the partners will hold dialogues with policymakers responsible for various aspects of women’s empowerment in the trade landscape.

The Parties will also develop an article or report that outlines recommendations and lessons learned that will support women’s participation in, and benefit from, the AfCFTA.

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