State commits to empower women in AfCFTA

DAR ES SALAAM: ZANZIBAR’S First Vice President, Othman Masoud Othman has said that African countries are committed to empower women economically through their participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The VP made the remarks yesterday at the official closing of the Second Conference on Women in Trade in AfCFTA held in Dar es Salaam.

He said such platforms facilitate the collective economic wellbeing of women. He said the three- day conference discussed on how Africa needs to simplify investment and create conducive environment of empowering women in trade in order to generate more employments and attain sustainable development.

“The conference has given direction and steps to be taken in Africa in order to fast track changes of empowering women to participate fully in trade in AfCFTA,” Mr Othman said.

The VP called upon all women who received training to be good ambassadors by encouraging others to grab numerous opportunities in the AfCFTA.

Minister for Trade and Industrial Development in Zanzibar, Omar Shaaban said the directive by President Samia Suluhu Hassan in last year’s conference held in the country on the completion of the women protocol for participating in AfCFTA has been accomplished in this year’s meeting.

Representing AfCFTA Executive Secretary in the conference, Prudence Zebahizi said AfCFTA Secretariat has signed an agreement with United Bank of Africa (UBA) to secure 6 billion US dollars for empowering and strengthening African women’s capacity in trade.

Zanzibar’s Minister for Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Riziki Pembe Juma called on women to direct more efforts in searching for markets within and outside Africa to ensure full utilization of the opportunities.

Opening the conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa called for deliberate efforts to address the obstacles that prevent women and young people from seizing the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

PM Majaliwa said women and youth face many structural and cultural challenges that sometimes prevent them from benefiting directly from business opportunities in AfCFTA.

He identified the obstacles as access to capital and business loans with concessional terms, technology, lack of accurate business information and opportunities, failure to meet product standards and low salaries.

The PM said the Heads of State were aware of the challenges facing young people and women in African countries.

Thus, during their meeting last December, they ordered the secretariat to prepare a specific protocol on women and young people in business to strengthen participation and reach all benefits.

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