Within the framework of boosting Egyptian-African cooperation on trade and economic domains, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), in conjunction with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), organized a conference to launch the “50 Million African Women Speak Digital Platform” in Egypt under the auspices of H.E. Minister of Trade and Industry and MSMEDA Executive Director Ms. Nevine Gamea. The conference took place in the presence of President of National Council for Women (NCW) Dr. Maya Morsi and MSMEDA Deputy Executive Director Eng. Tarek Shash.
African Development Bank Country Manager Ms. Malinne Blomberg, together with COMESA Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe participated in the conference. This Platform aims at reinvigorating trade and industrial ties among millions of African women entrepreneurs.
On behalf of H.E. Minister of Trade and Industry, MSMEDA Deputy Executive Director Eng. Shash gave a speech in which he pointed out that MSMEDA’s contribution into the launch of this Platform comes in tandem with Egypt’s orientations to reinforce economic cooperation and increase trade exchange with African countries. This comes as a further step to open new potential markets for products of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Eng. Shash added that such Platform crowns MSMEDA’s coordination efforts with lead organizations and institutions pioneering in comprehensive development and women empowerment in African countries, namely, the African Development Bank – a major donor agency sponsoring numerous landmark development agreements, programs and projects implemented by MSMEDA (since its inception and until now) in almost all Egypt’s governorates, and COMESA as well.
MSMEDA Deputy Executive Director also emphasized that this digital Platform is indeed the first of its kind that connects 50 million African women on trade businesses within 38 African countries, adding it will effectively contribute to smoothing out the sharing of ideas, know-how and information among women entrepreneurs all across the African continent. He accordingly reiterated that MSMEDA shall be in charge of managing Egypt’s information and content on the Platform.
Meanwhile, President of National Council for Women (NCW) Dr. Maya Morsi expressed satisfaction with the launching of this important Platform that will bring together millions of women entrepreneurs in Africa in one place and said, “This is a wise step on the road to achieving economic empowerment for the African women as provided for in the objectives of sustainable development.” Dr. Morsi highlighted that NCW has already been represented in the Platform early when it was just a feasible idea in conformity with the orientations of the political leadership that is very keen on supporting as well as empowering the African women because it ardently believes that empowering the African women is synonymous to empowering the whole continent. She also said, “Plans and policies Egypt carries out for empowering woman and enhancing her status in the society on the national level fall within the framework of its deep feeling of belongingness to the African continent.”
According to the African Development Bank’s Country Manager Malinne Blomberg, the Platform kick-start is a very promising initiative: it will enhance financial inclusion on one hand, and foster collaboration and information sharing between Egyptian women and their African counterparts on the other. “We are confident that this Platform will improve the enabling environment for Egyptian women and indeed happy that it will be managed in Egypt through MSMEDA with which the Bank has been working closely for the last decade,” Ms. Blomberg elaborated.
“The 50 Million African Women Speak Digital Platform” is much more than a marketplace for Egyptian women to showcase their products or connect with buyers. It furthermore serves as a hub providing information on where these women can access financial services, business management training and financial literacy skilling, alongside useful tips on how to engage in import or export business,” said COMESA Secretary General Ms. Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe. “COMESA has put into action this digital Platform that is funded by the African Development Bank at around USD 14 million,” Ms. Kapwepwe added.