Over 180 women entrepreneurs from across Africa will on Thursday convene at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) for an intra-regional conference on trade.
The conference, the first in the East Africa region will be officiated by Hon. Adan Mohammed Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.
Dubbed the East African women in intra-regional trade conference & exhibition, the event will bring together high-ranking government officials, women in business from the region, top executives in the manufacturing sector, agri-business, finance, information communication and technology and handcraft sector among others.
The conference aims to create a platform for women to dialogue, identify trade bottlenecks and solutions in the EAC region.
According to EAWIB platform coordinator, Nancy Gitonga, the conference is keen on ensuring that at least 30 women led businesses are assisted to negotiate for contracts with buyers, during the conference.
This follows a process that has already identified the business and pre-matched them to the most ideal buyer. This is based on the research fact that access to market information remains a key constraint for women led businesses.
Further, it will be a forum for women in business to engage government, private sector and development agencies and advocate for an environment that promotes women’s participation in trade.
Commenting on the event, TradeMark East Africa, Senior Director, Business Competitiveness, Lisa Karanja noted: “Having the right conversations with the right people makes all the difference. This conference is a first step in the right direction. It is our plan that strategic partnerships are formed here, that fruitful dialogue to identify key trade bottlenecks and solutions and commitment to improve the environment for women enterprises to thrive are conceived during the event. We are committed to building capacity of at least 300,000 women in the next 5 years, and the discussions taking place at the conference are important and will inform our direction.”
Women cross border traders, women exporters, women in manufacturing, those in-home décor, apparel among others will set up a market place where buyers can view their products.
The forum is organized by The East African Women in Business Platform (EAWIB) with support from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). Barclays Bank of Kenya has partly sponsored the conference.
The East African Women in Business Platform brings together individuals and organizations from across the East African Community who support issues affecting professional women and women in business.