By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An initiative, SheTrade, launched in 2016 and aimed at bringing about 200,000 women to the global market as part of the broader UN goal of connecting one million women to the international market place by 2020, has continued to yield meaningful results.
Last week, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) organised a 2-day Regional Stakeholders Workshop on the Implementation of SheTrade initiatives in Lagos.
During the programme, Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, explained that to achieve this commitments, NEPC organized Stakeholder’s forum in some States in Nigeria in liaison with a Steering Committee was inaugurated to further drive the SheTrades initiative.
Consequently, he said that Women clusters on some product sectors such as Hibiscus, Sesame seed, Cotton and Maringa were formed with a view to enhancing the competitiveness and capacity of women in these sectors.
According to him, “The council in partnership with ITC brought together women entrepreneurs to increase their awareness on the SheTrades platform, thereby improving their visibility and the use of trade intelligence as well as strengthening the Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs) to enhance policies for the benefit of the exporting entrepreneurs.
Mr Awolowo also underlined that research shows that women as largely being the driving force behind the global economy, controlling over 65 percent of global consumer spendings.
However, he pointed out that globally, women businesses are outperformed in less productive sectors, as owners often lack adequate access to capital in addition to the myriad of bottlenecks and complications plaguing their businesses as same as applies with all Nigerian entrepreneurs.
“Therefore, the ITC Call to Action offers a platform to rally and engage stakeholders across governments and the private sector, to address previous shortcomings and advance women’s economic empowerment.
“Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a prerequisite in achieving the Global Development Goals on Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations, setting forth an ambitious development agenda to 2030,” he said.
Mr Awolowo noted that the ITC SheTrades Initiative was an opportunity to accelerate our economic growth through increased participation of Nigerian women in global trade stressing that such an opportunity was long overdue to unlock the potentials of the captive ability of our women who dominate the non-oil export sectors.
Only last year, after Nigeria signed onto the ITC’s SheTrades Initiative, the Executive Director of ITC Arancha Gonzalez assured Nigerian businesswomen that the ITC and NEPC would work together to empower women to trade for a better future for Nigeria, Africa and the world as a whole.
Over 150 participants including SMEs and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) among other stakeholders have agreed to partner the NEPC in driving the SheTrade initiative.
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