United Kingdom announces additional £3.5m support to ITC’s SheTrades Commonwealth project

17 January 2020
ITC News
The UK is boosting support to female entrepreneurs in Commonwealth countries, helping them overcome barriers to starting businesses and connecting them to global markets

LONDON – The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development Mr. Alok Sharma has announced that the UK Department of International Development (DFID) is providing an additional £3.5 million ($4.6 million) to extend the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Commonwealth project for another year.

“When women are economically empowered, their whole community benefits,” Mr. Sharma said. “SheTrades is an important step towards achieving that.”

Ms. Dorothy Tembo, acting Executive Director of the ITC, said: “We are delighted that the UK has reaffirmed its commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment through the SheTrades Commonwealth programme. Such support is vital if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We thank the UK for its continued trust in ITC.”

The SheTrades Commonwealth programme, one of the many chapters under the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Initiative, was officially launched in April 2018 at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London.

The Commonwealth project aims to boost the participation of women-owned businesses in international trade and create jobs by working with value chain actors in the four Commonwealth countries of Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria. With its innovative SheTrades Outlook policy tool, the programme has been working with governments to develop gender-inclusive trade policies and support the collection of disaggregated data and statistics.

Since its inception in 2018, SheTrades Commonwealth has delivered significant results. It has provided training and mentoring to almost 3,000 women-owned businesses, supported the creation of more than 2,000 jobs, generated as much as £18 million ($23.5 million) in sales for these businesses, worked with 40 business support organizations across the four countries, and gathered comprehensive data in 25 countries while supporting policy reforms in several.

For Phase II of the project, running from April 2020 to March 2021, SheTrades Commonwealth aims to create nearly 3,000 more jobs, secure £28 million ($36.5 million) in sales for women-owned businesses, expand investment and development partnerships in public and private sectors, provide policy support to an additional 5 countries and roll out its SheTrades Outlook tool to an additional six countries.