Trademark East Africa launches women and trade drive

04Dec 2017
The Guardian
Trademark East Africa launches women and trade drive

TRADEMARk East Africa has launched a women and trade cam- paign to raise awareness on issues faced by women traders in the country.

Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa.

The campaign will also highlight trade opportunities for women traders in a bid to increase inclusion.

Under the themed, ‘Empowering women, powering trade,’ the campaign will see the organization engage with policy makers, de- velopment partners, business associations and other stakeholders in region and beyond to create an inclusive and enabling environment for women traders.

The campaign builds on a successful pilot phase of the women and trade programme that reached over 25,000 women in the six East African Community countries.

Currently, women face many challenges in the trade environment - discrimination at the work place, unsupportive work environment, harassment, negative cultural and societal barriers and a lack of in- formation and awareness. Research indicates that women are more likely to be negatively a ected by trade liberalization.

“TradeMark East Africa is supporting women and trade pro- grammes to ensure equitable access to trade opportunities by ad- dressing gender speci c constraints like unfavorable policies and procedures, limited access to market information and weak export capacity,” said Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa.

Matsaert noted that 70 percent of cross border traders in East Africa are women which means that targeted intervention to enhance their trading opportunities is economically bene cial 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,” Matsaert pointed out.

“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 im- pact,” he concluded.

Commenting on the start of training, TradeMark Country Director for Tanzania, John Ulanga, said the ‘Women in trade drive’ is aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs in the country to be more com- petitive and tackle cross border trade barriers facing them.

“This enables them to do business internationally, including facili- tating their products reach the East African markets as well as the international markets where TradeMark East Africa has set aside enough funds to nance the program,” Ulanga said.

TradeMark East Africa has through Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce has given a grant of 500m/- to support women traders by building their capacity and training.