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April 20, 2024

Unlock $22bn AfCFTA opportunities from gender perspective – Expert

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By Oluwafunke Ishola

Mrs Tokunbo Chiedu, the Chief Executive Officer, Compass Global, says women entrepreneurs need to maximise their profitability and competitiveness to unlock the $22 billion opportunity in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Chiedu said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

She said that a central consideration for empowering women entrepreneurs was to leverage the AfCFTA to improve regional integration frameworks from a gender perspective.

Chiedu noted that the United Nations emphasised the importance of identifying opportunities for women entrepreneurs within the context of the AfCFTA.

“Finding ways of integrating gender concerns into value chain development projects and programmes could yield positive outcomes and also help to position women in international trade.

“African governments need to establish infrastructural connectivity as a priority.

“Addressing existing logistical challenges, as well as working toward a common currency that will ease trading across regions is essential,” she said.

Chiedu said that Compass Global recently held a West Meets East Trade Mission and Business Development Tour, as part of the Global Female Leaders, and Entrepreneurs Conference (FLEC), in Kenya.

FLEC is a convergence that initiates conversations with female leaders, around gender development and the pivotal role gender balance, and diversity has to play in Africa’s transformation agenda.

She said that the programme was held with the support of the ECOWAS Commission and AfreximBank.

“The goal of the West Meets East meeting is to instigate a coalition for regional business linkage, and partnerships toward improving intra Africa trade, and against the backdrop of the AfCFTA.

“This endeavour, therefore, connected Counterparts from West to players across East Africa via a series of private sector led engagements.

“It also created a platform to explore and develop opportunities and foster partnerships between players across the regions toward unlocking the $22 billion Intra- Africa Trade opportunity,” she said.

From L-R: Kudikwashe Matereke (Regional Operating officer East Africa Afreximbank), Janice Kimaro (Co-ordinator EAWIBP), Iyalode Lawson (president ECOWAS Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE), Tokunbo Chiedu (CEO Compass Global /Convener FLEC and West meets East Africa), Aminon Akadiri (Executive Director Federation of west of west Africa Chamber of Commerce) and Moses Kanyesigye (East Africa Business Council Regional Coordinator, SMEs, Women and youth) during inaugural West Meets East conference in Nairobi
From L-R: Mr Kudakwashe Matereke, Regional Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Africa, Afreximbank; Janice Kimaro, Co-ordinator, East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP); Tokunbo Chiedu (Mrs), CEO Compass Global/Convener FLEC & West Meets East Africa; Iyalode Alaba Lawson MFR, FiOD, President ECOWAS Federation of Business Women Entrepreneur (FEBWE), Nigeria, Mr Aminou Akadiri, Executive Director Federation of West Africa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FEWACCI); Moses Kanyesigye, Head of SMEs, Women & Youth, East African Business Council (EABC) during inaugural West Meets East conference in Nairobi

Chiedu commended the support from all strategic partners; especially with regards to the mobilisation of key associations, women business networks and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across both West and East Africa to be part of the engagements.

She said that 40 West Africa delegates were mobilised to include Presidents of Women Business Networks and Associations and SMEs from across key sectors of agribusiness, manufacturing and services.

Chiedu said the delegates were from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Benin Republic, Liberia, Cape Verde and Cameroun.

She added that 50 exhibitors made up of businesses or SMEs of West and East Africa showcased at the exhibition.

Some of the participants from Nigeria’s Organised Private Sector in attendance were: Deputy National Coordinator- Association of Nigeria Women Business Network, Otunba Gbemisola Oduntan, President Commonwealth Women’s Business Council Africa, Mrs Ngozi Oyewole, and President Akoko Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines & Agriculture, Dr Funmilola Williams Daudu. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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