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EAC to champion trade markets for women in agriculture

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The East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP), in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, and financial support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the Intra-Regional Trade Facility Initiative (IRTF), successfully launched the project Value Addition for Increased Market Access in the Moringa Sector in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

 The EAC Secretariat Principal Gender and Community Development Officer, Ms. Generose Minani, pointed out that the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and the 5th EAC Development Strategy 2016/17 – 2020/21 clearly outline the commitment of the EAC in promoting women in socio-economic development and in business.

“The EAWiBP project on value addition for increased market access in the agro-processing sector, connecting and linking women in moringa business across the three EAC Partner States Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, contributes directly to this goal. The project engages and supports women in moringa production and trade and focuses on improving competitiveness and strengthening value addition for moringa products for easy market access.

The EAC has developed a policy framework to promote the participation of women in intra-regional trade, such as the EAC Gender Policy 2018 and the draft Regional Strategy for Promoting Women in Business for Socio-Economic Development, 2015 – 2025,” said Ms. Minani. 

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EAWiBP Chair Person, Ms. Angela Begaine, indicated that as a result of the implementation of this project, national associations of moringa producers and traders had been established in Uganda (Uganda Moringa Association), Kenya (Kenya Moringa Association) and Tanzania (Tanzania Moringa Association, TAMOA) as well as a functional e-hub (https://eawibp.org/projects/project/eawibp-irtfeac-giz) for showcasing and connecting women entrepreneurs in moringa sector. Advocacy for the inclusion of moringa products in the EAC Simplified Trade Regime list is at an advanced level, and women in the moringa sector are aware of the business facilitation requirements for their products.

Ms. Begaine added that EAC women traders faced multiple challenges which discourage their full participation in regional trade. “The training is an opportunity to strengthen the role of women in EAC cross-border trade towards promoting trade and gender in the EAC. Therefore, EAWiBP and IRTF organized this workshop at the backdrop of enhancing knowledge and awareness of the women in business towards increasing market access for their products.” 

Mr. Bernd Schmidt, Deputy Programme Manager, EAC-GIZ SEAMPEC Programme, pointed out that EAWiBP’s project was an important contribution to ensuring that women in business had relevant economic information at their fingertips and gained access to the skills that grant them effective participation in regional trade.

He underscored that EAC-GIZ supports this project because of the importance to provide women in business with all possible opportunities to reap the social and economic benefits of cross-border trade through participation, networking, digital tools and advocacy for policies and legislation that facilitate their doing of business. Mr. Schmidt concluded that the new e-hub was an excellent initiative for facilitating market access and linkages for women entrepreneurs both in and outside the region because e-commerce has a great potential to facilitate cross border trade. He called upon all women in business to make use of this new tool effectively and efficiently to strengthen their business. 

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