By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Some stakeholders in the Focus Africa Series have called on the public to patronise African products especially Nigerian products to enhance businesses and development.
They made the call on Saturday at the ongoing “Focus Africa Expo Programme in Abuja.
Speaking at the forum, Mr Sucex Ibeh, the Founder, Focus Africa Series, said the aim of the programme was to change the narratives around doing business in Africa through projecting excellence and innovation in African business.
Ibeh also said that the forum aimed at bringing stakeholders together from across the continent to discuss the opportunities in the continent for business advancement.
“We do this every year since 2017 when we started the Focus Africa Science Innovation Commodity Expo and we take it round the African countries.
“The idea is to promote made in Africa products, bringing stakeholders from different countries to look at the things we have in Africa and how we can maximise it for the benefit of the overall continent,” he said.
Hajiya Mariam Ibrahim, the President, Focus Africa Women Forum, said the forum provided a platform for women’s empowerment, advocacy and training.
Ibrahim said the aim of the programme was to sensitise women on the need to come out of their shells and harness their potentials.
She called for more unity and focus among women so that together they would achieve their aim.
“We sensitise women so that they will know their importance in the society and how to take their rightful place in the society.
“They should not be timid; they should not say they cannot make it there is nothing that is difficult, the only thing that is difficult is something you don’t know.
“So we are there at the grass root empowering them, sensitising them on how important they are as mothers, wives, daughters or sisters,” she said.
Similarly, Mrs Alanying Sylva, Chairperson, Centre for Gender Value and Culture, said that the focus was on the growth of women and change in the continent.
Sylva also urged women to advocate for inclusion and ultimately effect lasting Change in the communities.
“It is our belief that awareness is important, but even more so is action. So women in organisations, government, business must continually choose to encourage others.
“We don’t want somebody else to tell our stories; we want to showcase what we are doing; we have come of age; we are doing things to change our narrative,” she said.
On her part, Christine Mutsau, Managing Director, Prestige Immigration Services, South Africa, said the forum helped to integrate with African leaders to harness opportunities in the continent.
Mutsau said the knowledge gained from the forum would help her to be more productive.
On free trade, she said there was need for collaboration among traders and governments to make the way of doing businesses in the continent seamless.
“Because right now there is a lot of challenges that make it a little bit difficult to do business and export to other countries.
“We can use this platform as business leaders and engage with different stakeholders, so that they can also hear us from our experiences with clients on how to make these processes seamless and help free trade in Africa,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.com.ng)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo