ITC’s SheTrades Initiative launched in Nigeria (en)

14 juillet 2016
ITC Nouvelles
Nigeria commits to connecting 200,000 women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020

Nigeria will be connecting 200,000 women entrepreneurs to global markets in the coming years in support of the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Initiative, First Lady Aisha Buhari announced in Abuja on 13 July. Launched in September 2015, the SheTrades Initiative aims to connect 1 million women to markets by 2020.

Ms Buhari made the announcement at the Nigeria launch of the SheTrades Initiative, which took place during the Nigeria Women in Export Stakeholders Forum and Exhibition, organized by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC). She also issued a call for the federal government to source 20% of public procurement from women-owned businesses.

The First Lady’s announcement was welcomed by ITC Executive Director Arancha González, who said that Nigeria is a global economic powerhouse, and not just in Africa. ‘When Nigeria speaks, we listen. And when Nigeria makes a commitment to women like it has today, the impact is far reaching,’ she said.

Mr Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEPC said: ‘We must join other countries by working together to boldly make women business enterprises a significant contributor to the country’s economy and revenue.

‘Nigeria has a unique opportunity to access a marginalized group capable of leading and moving the country forward. Let us harness the work done so far, raising the profile of our women and joining our counterparts from across the world to bringing one million women into trade by 2020,’ he said.

Adding support from the private sector was Nigerian business leader Tony Elemulu, founder of the Tony Elemelu Foundation, who also signed up to support the SheTrades Initiative. ‘When a woman does well, everyone else does well,’ he said.

Ms Aisha Abubakar, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said that the SheTrades Initiative ‘offers a powerful platform to rally and engage stakeholders across the government, private sector and communities to address the previous shortcomings and advance women’s economic empowerment.

‘Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a prerequisite to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, setting forth an ambitious development agenda to 2030. Statistics indicate that advancing women’s equality could add $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025 enabling economies to unlock their full potential,’ said Ms Abubakar.

Through the SheTrades Initiative, ITC provides support to women entrepreneurs through seven pillars: championing quality data; promoting fair policies; supporting women’s participation in government procurement as well as in corporate procurement; promoting access to financial services; and supporting women ownership rights. These form a guide for policymakers and businesses to achieve greater gender inclusiveness in trade which is part of ITC’s effort to help UN member states achieve Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to empower all women and girls.

ITC Executive Director Arancha González’s speech is available here.

Learn more about the SheTrades Initiative.

Learn more about ITC’s Women and Trade Programme.

Learn more about ITC’s work to encourage public procurement from women-owned businesses.