Organization of Women in International Trade call on women to tap into the African Continental Free Trade Area

25 November 2021
ITC News

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) in Nairobi, in collaboration with OWIT Nigeria and OWIT Zimbabwe, are partnering to support African women entrepreneurs to participate in intra-regional trade.

Speaking during the Africa Women Trade Conference organized by the two organizations on 25 and 26 November, Aissatou Diallo, ITC Senior Coordinator for the AfCFTA and Least Developed Countries, said that trade under the AfCFTA would drive larger gains in earning for businesswomen.

Themed ‘Empowering Women in Intra-Africa Trade’, the conference encourages women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the AfCFTA’s enormous potential for trade within its regional and continental markets. It further focuses on Africa’s investment opportunities while creating an opportunity for women entrepreneurs and business leaders to meet with investors.

Supported by the One Trade Africa programme, the two-day hybrid event, with 200 participants on-site and 1,000 joining virtually, brings together traders, government agencies, financial institutions, investors, small businesses and local eco-system partners.

Experts attending the conference say it is critical to establish what the AfCFTA means for women’s participation in cross-border trade, value chains and public procurement from the beginning. They also underscore that women and youth are key stakeholders in continental economic development, as Africa’s informal sector accounts for 85% of the continent’s total economic activity, with women accounting for 90% of the labour force in the informal sector, thereby making up 70% of the continent’s informal traders.

For this reason, OWIT in Nairobi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, are collaborating for a strategic response in strengthening the capacities of African women entrepreneurs at all levels across the continent. They will work together to empower women in developing new and innovative approaches to intelligence, including competitive intelligence to trade beyond their borders.

During the event, Caroline Gathii, President of OWIT Nairobi, said, “we are honoured to partner with ITC through the One Trade Africa programme on the Africa Women Trade Conference which is the first of its kind in the region. The conference provides a platform for connections, collaborations, and exchange of ideas between Africa states. Together with ITC we will seek to explore avenues of increasing intra-African trade among women in the region.”


About OWIT Nairobi

OWIT Nairobi is a Business Membership Organization for women working in international trade. It is designed to promote the advancement of women in trade and business, with the goal to generate 60% of their sales from export by 2030. Through networking, and capacity-building activities, the members can expand their business revenues and establish new partnerships throughout the African continent.

About One Trade Africa

The International Trade Centre’s One Trade Africa programme enables, empowers and enhances opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially for women and youth, in accessing trade opportunities under the AfCFTA. ITC also provides African small businesses with training, advice and coaching to build capacities, connect to new and lucrative markets, and create jobs with technical assistance and advisory services.