Graphic Business News

‘She Trades’ to boost role of women in economic activities

By: Lucy Mensah
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Mr Nicholas Schlaepfer (middle), addressing a gathering at the launch of the “She Trades” initiative. With him are Ms Chiedza Makonnen (left) and and Mr Quintein De (right)
Mr Nicholas Schlaepfer (middle), addressing a gathering at the launch of the “She Trades” initiative. With him are Ms Chiedza Makonnen (left) and and Mr Quintein De (right)

An initiative aimed at driving the potential of trade, productivity and competitiveness for women entrepreneurs and women-owned companies to ensure that women played an active role in international trade has been launched.

The initiative, known as the ‘She Trades’ Commonwealth Ghana, is being implemented by the International Trade Centre and UK AID in collaboration with one of the beneficiaries of the project, Afrodesiac Worldwide.

It also seeks to assist women in the business industry and agricultural sector to get funding, training in packaging, marketing and access to credible information.

Speaking at the launch, the Senior Adviser in charge of empowering women to trade of the International Trade Centre and UK AID, Mr Nicholas Schlaepfer said the initiative was to increase economic growth and job creation in Commonwealth countries which would enable women –owned business thrive in international trade.

He said currently, over 1000 women had been signed on to the She Trades initiative, with cost amounting 7 million pounds, adding that the organisation was working to connect about one million women by 2020.

“Our focus is on women and we are ready to support them in the trading industry, textiles and parlous with everything these women need to survived including access to market for their product,” he stated.
 
Objective
The She Trades commonwealth initiative aims to increase economic growth and job creation in commonwealth countries which will enable major participation of women-owned business in international trade.

The She Trades is project is funded by UK Department for International Development and implemented by the ITC under the framework of the She Trades initiative.

This initiative is also supported in Ghana by Exim Bank through which the funds are made available to the beneficiaries.

“We decided to partner Exim Bank SME desk to make sure that the qualified individuals get access to funds when the need arises,’’ he said.

Increase access
He also urged women to play active role in the various sectors of the economy, particularly in trading and agriculture sector.

He said although women constituted about 60 per cent of the county’s population, most women had a lot of challenges playing an active role in the economy.

“Every country needs women for economic development; however, there are numerous challenges that impede their involvement in most sectors, particularly the trading industry. It is about time we adopted strategies to help women pick up crucial roles in the industry,’’ he noted

With this, Mr Schlaepfer said the government and stakeholders needed to take critical notice of women in every sphere of the all sectors of the economy.

Plan
The project is also partnering the government, private sector and international organisations on how to expand opportunities for female entrepreneurs by depending on strategy which the initiative term as “7 pillars to catalyse trade’’.

And these pillars, Mr Schlaepfer said they included Champion Quality data, Enact fair policies, Secure Government contacts, Strike business deals, Enable market access, Unlock financial services and Grant ownership rights which Mr Schlaepfer added that would contribute to socio-economic development of the country with women involvement .

The CET of Afrodesiac Worldwide, Ms Chiedza Makonnen, who is a beneficiary said She Trades approached her with information about the initiative and Ms Makonnen said, “I decided to join She Trades which provided me with financial assistance, training and monitoring which push my company this far’’.

She, therefore, advice women to look into various sector of the economy particularly agriculture, textiles and parlous to take advantage of this opportunity to explore in the world of business. — GB