TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) on Thursday launched a women and trade campaign to raise awareness on issues faced by women traders in the country.
The campaign will also highlight trade opportunities for women traders in a bid to increase inclusion.
Themed empowering women, powering trade the campaign will see the organization engage with policy makers, development partners, business associations and other stakeholders in region and beyond to create an inclusive and enabling environment for women in trade.
The campaign builds on a successful pilot phase of the women and trade programme that reached over 25,000 women in the 6 EAC countries.
Currently, women face many challenges in the trade environment – discrimination at the workplace, unsupportive work environment, harassment, negative cultural and societal barriers and a lack of information and awareness. Research indicates that women are more likely to be negatively affected by trade liberalization.
“TradeMark East Africa is supporting women and trade programmes to ensure equitable access to trade opportunities by addressing gender specific constraints like unfavorable policies and procedures, limited access to market information and weak export capacity,” noted Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa.
He added “70 percent of women cross border traders in East Africa are women, meaning targeted intervention to enhance their trading opportunities is economically beneficial to the region. Already, sensitization campaigns conducted at select border crossing points coupled with improved border clearance processes have resulted to 50 percent reduction in crossing time for targeted women.”
“This has enabled women to save time and costs associated with moving goods across borders. Adoption of similar measures across other border points in the region and beyond would multiply the impact,” concluded Frank Matsaert.