By NATION REPORTER
THE SheTrades Zambia chapter has been launched to promote economic participation of Zambian women.
International Trade Centre (ITC) officially launched the initiative on Monday at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
SheTrades Zambia is expected to focus on agricultural, textile and clothing value chains and developing a conducive policy framework for women.
SheTrades Zambia is set to identify key policy barriers in trade experienced in the local business environment and provide the Zambian institutions with guiding principles to foster women’s economic participation.
ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez said during the launch that women-owned enterprises could be an effective driver for economic inclusion in trade.
Ms Gonzalez said with a population of over 50 percent, Zambian women stood as a catalyst for growth in Zambia’s economy.
“Enabling women to participate in trade and improving the performance of micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) can translate into increased trade, productivity, and competitiveness.
“This can help drive overall economic expansion, job creation, innovation, and human development. For women to play and active role in shaping institutions, social norms, and the well-being of their communities, their participation in trade is crucial,” Ms Gonzalez explained.
She said achieving gender equality for women in Zambia should begin with greater participation of girls in the education system and also representation of women in government and labour market.
“The challenges that hinder the progress of women in society are lack of access to financial services and capital to further their businesses, lack of access to land and inheritance rights and the meagre participation of women in the labour force,” she said. She said the coming of SheTrades Zambia would enhance economic growth and job creation for women-owned businesses in Zambia.
This would be done by expanding their role in the local economy as well as international trade.
“With support from local and global partners, the SheTrades Zambia chapter will improve the competencies of women entrepreneurs and establish an enabling business environment,” she said.
Apart from Zambia, SheTrades has empowered women in various countries across the world including Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.