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Female entrepreneurs set to build region’s intelligence network


AWIEF Founder and Director, Irene Ochem

Women entrepreneurs working in the agricultural sector are being empowered with skills, knowledge and access to markets, finance and services needed to build their businesses.

The founder and CEO of the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), Irene Ochem at the launch of VALUE4HER, a joint initiative of CTA, AWIEF and the African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAN), said the initiative will help women to develop agribusinesses, and to derive more income from agri-food markets. She said: “we want to bring in more young women to be job creators and not just job seekers.”

The project is expected to facilitate innovative business linkages with other women-led agribusinesses, and help agripreneurs to link with women suppliers, to benefit other women in the value chain. 

In addition, VALUE4HER will use knowledge and targeted advocacy to address economic barriers to women’s entrepreneurship (e.g. equitable access to finance), as well as highlight and reinforce market practices that enable women to succeed.She maintained that the critical challenges for women include access to markets and market intelligence, access to finance and other business services, and the technical, management and leadership skills needed to move an enterprise forwards.

VALUE4HER called for women-led agribusinesses in southern and eastern Africa, to be a part of the agribusiness intelligence network targeting women-led agribusinesses. 

The aim is to foster better links with markets, supply chains, and other service providers, including financing partners. Agribusinesses that register will also be eligible to participate in the project’s activities, including training, and the chance to apply for a competitive grant aimed at spurring innovation.

Sabdiyo Dido Bashuna, Senior Technical Adviser, Value Chains and Agribusiness, at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), said: “Women are key actors in agriculture, but benefit little from high-value activities.”

According to her, CTA has extensive experience in working with women-led businesses in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific, including the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP) and Samoa-based Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), as well as with farmer-led agricultural enterprises in Africa. 

VALUE4HER will focus on linking women-led agribusinesses with competitive high-value regional and global markets, and improving women business leader’s technical and managerial skills.

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