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NEPC, ITC target $200m international trade with Shetrades


[FILES] Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and International Trade Centre (ITC) have announced plans to achieve a $200 million worth of trade in Nigeria through Shetrades, a commonwealth project, aimed at facilitating the participation of women owned businesses in international trade.

According to the Programme Officer, ITC Shetrades, Simon Balfes, since the inception of Shetrades in 2016, Nigeria has recorded over $4 million worth of leads, saying that the target is to achieve $200 million worth of sales in the country.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, NEPC, Segun Awolowo, represented by the Regional Coordinator, South West, NEPC, Babatunde Faleke, at a private sector/business to business meeting organised by ITC, said the Shetrades programme has encouraged women entrepreneurs to register and make their business visible on the platform, leveraging trade as a channel for the empowerment of women.


According to him, the initiative was further aimed at connecting about 200,000 owned business in Nigeria as part of the broader UN goal of connecting three million women to the international market by 2021.He noted that Shetrades offers a powerful platform to rally and engage stakeholders across governments and the private sector to address the previous shortcomings and advance women’s economic empowerment.He pointed out that gender equality and the empowerment of women is a prerequisite in achieving the global development goals on sustainable development adopted by the United Nations, setting forth an ambitious development agenda to 2030.

In his words: “Today we focus on partnering on better integrating women into the economic fabric of Nigeria through connecting them to global trade. Women are the backbone of practically all economies, especially the informal economy. Notwithstanding, we see that Nigerian women as well as their counterparts around the world continue to face significant challenges.”

He added that achieving zero oil growth through women inclusiveness in global export trade is targeted at non-oil export stakeholders which include Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), conglomerates, exporters, banks, shipping lines, insurance companies, chambers of commerce and industries, stressing that the forum will no doubt encourage business networking while also create new export opportunities for women in international trade.

“The ITC Shetrades initiative is our opportunity to accelerate our economic growth through the increased participation of Nigerian women in global trade. Such an opportunity is long overdue to unlock the potentials of the captive ability of our women who dominate our non-oil export sectors,” he said.

Balfes stated that the scheme was also to help SMEs managed by women to connect with big private organisations in a bid to improve the operating environment for businesses in Nigeria through investment and international trade.

“Since we launched the initiative we have trained 800 SMEs in a variety of trade related skills and expertise which includes business export strategies and we are really glad and proud about the collaboration we have had with some Business Support Organisations like NEPC and our media partners,” he said.

“In addition, over $4 million worth of leads and we are also monitoring the extent of what that turns into sales, but the results so far has really been encouraging. Over 50 women have been connected to the international market of buyers.“Our target is to achieve $200 million worth of sales in Nigeria and so far, we have achieved $4 million worth of lead so I think this is an encouraging target for Nigeria. The leads have being generated by the meetings we have facilitated,” he stressed.


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ITCNEPCSegun Awolowo
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