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At African Women Trade Conference, integrating gender policies, practices takes stage

By Tobi Awodipe
15 October 2022   |   4:04 am
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Maryam Yalwaji Katagum, has urged companies to invest in women directly by integrating gender policies and practices with global diversity and women’s personal safety, when determining working conditions and hours.

Nigeria’s Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Maryam Yalwaji Katagum, has urged companies to invest in women directly by integrating gender policies and practices with global diversity and women’s personal safety, when determining working conditions and hours.

Represented by the director of Commodity and Export, Suleiman Audu, at the just concluded second edition of the annual African Women Trade Conference (AWTC) hosted by Organisation of Women in International Trade (OWIT) Nigeria, she said investing in gender policies and women would significantly improve the economy.

Women were also admonished to use available information to go further and faster across borders to create lasting impact in the economy as trade has huge potentials to generate income, create employment and improve general welfare of the nation.

This and others were part of the benefits women in trade had access to at the conference, themed, positioning African women for the next big opportunity in the regional and global markets; focused on solutions to challenges, accessible financing, leveraging on digitisation to advance trade and facilitate integration of African women-owned businesses in regional and international markets and the global value chains.

President, OWIT Nigeria, Blessing Irabor-Oza, identified ways to tackle the challenges women face in international trade, saying the benchmark has been set with a line-up of incredible, brilliant and experienced experts in the field of advancing trade for women.

While President, OWIT International, Frida Owinga, urged attendees to use the information given to go further and faster across borders to create an impact in the economy just as Namibia’s minister of industrialization and trade Lucia Iipumbu, added that trade has the potential to generate income, create employment and improve a nation’s welfare

Deputy director, gender, who represented the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ifeoma Anyanwu, said the ministry would continue to address challenges women face in policy dimension. While executive secretary, National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTCFTA), Francis Anatogu, said there’s need for implementation of narratives, referencing OWIT’s establishment, to learn trade and improve Nigeria’s economy.

There were interactive panel discussions, contributions and training sessions on advancing gender equality through authentic partnership in trade, harnessing value chain advantages for women in trade, and bridging the gender gap in accessing finance in national and regional trade. Also on the sidelines of the conference were workshops and training of trainers on AFCFTA protocols. The three days conference which had exhibitions of made in Africa products ended with an awards evening in recognition of those who have contributed to the advancement of women traders in Africa.

Participants at AWTC Abuja 2022 included Ambassador Humphrey Geiseb of Namibia to Nigeria; chairperson, NACCIMA business women group, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar; immediate past president, NACCIMA and FEWACCI, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliu; Nnamdi Ezera; ITC East Africa trade policy expert, Steve Machage and project manager, ECOWAS Agricultural Trade (GIZ), Arne Schuffenhauer.

This edition of AWTC was hosted by OWIT Nigeria in collaboration with OWIT Nairobi, Zimbabwe and South Africa and sponsored by Cooperation Germany-ECOWAS (co-founded by the European union), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, The International Trade Centre (ITC), Africa Women and Youth Empowerment group (AWYEG) and the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP).