By Momodou Jarju
Stakeholders in the business and entrepreneurship sector in collaboration with partners, yesterday February 26th 2019, validated the ‘She Trades’ initiative in The Gambia.
The International Trade Center (ICT), launched the ‘She Trades’, a global initiative to create an ecosystem of integrated solutions which empowers women economically, through greater integration in trade and investment.
The global initiative is to connect three million women to markets by 2021, with plans to work with partners including Governments, the private sector, international organizations, and others, to expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs on the seven pillars to catalyze trade. The seven pillars are championing quality data, enacting fair policies, securing Government contracts, striking business deals, enabling market access, unlocking financial services and granting ownership rights.
In The Gambia, the initiative or project aims to enable Gambian women benefit from economic participation by increasing women entrepreneurs in trade, with a focus on the agriculture and textiles and garments value chains.
‘She Trades’ in The Gambia is funded by the OPEC fund for International Development (OFID), Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and ITC, and is implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment. It has a country-wide network of institutional and private sectors partners, including the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary at the Trade Ministry Modou K Ceesay, said the document has gone through an internal review process making it prudent for them to extend the review process to the wider stakeholders, to give technical observation and make relevant comments that can be incorporated in the document.
“I can assure you that Government is committed to continuing in trade reform policies, and strong commitment to implementing our bilateral and multilateral protocols through sensitization, by removing all challenges and bottlenecks for trade both internally, as well as within the region,” he said; that this would help in repositioning the local operators to be competitive and take advantage of the wider market; that the issue of gender mainstreaming in Government’s policies is critical.
Ceesay said women are defacto operators of the country’s economy, and thus targeting support towards them, is social protection for them.
Raimund Moser, an ICT representative said it is only through togetherness that the project will become successful, saying it’s more than a project, but a platform and chapter with a lot of partnership at the global and national level.
Anna Mori, ICT representative during her presentation, said the project intends to reach five hundred Gambian women; that Gambia is the first in the sub-region, to benefit from this global initiative with consultation, between Government and the initiator, a year ago. Plans are afoot to launch a similar project in Senegal according to Moser.
The Project’s Focus:
The project’s span is three years and focuses on three goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):- Goal 1: No poverty; Goal 5: Gender equality, and Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
The project is expected to establish a chapter for a public-private platform to support women’s economic empowerment; support Business Support Organisations (BSOs) to provide better services for women owned businesses; strengthen the technical and productive capacity of women in horticulture, textiles and apparel value chains, and to improve business and market linkages for women entrepreneurs in the target sectors.