Women exporters challenged

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Women Affairs, Community and SME Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, says her Ministry is looking at growing at least 100 women exporters from each province as the country pushes towards export-led economic growth.

This comes as the country gears to take advantage of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) set for January next year.

Minister Nyoni said women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe have capacity to boost the economy by venturing into the mainstream economy such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing and value addition.

With the soon to be implemented AfCTA, women will have an opportunity to access larger markets across the whole region. As such the ministry is assisting women boost their production and ensure they are competitive on the export market presented by the AfCTA.

The AfCTA will be the world’s largest free trade area connecting 1,3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3,4 trillion.

“A lot of women are traders. Right now we want to invest in the productive sector with machinery that can help women entrepreneurs enhance efficiency.

“What we want is to take women off streets and make them producers who value add so that we have competitive products when the AfCTA opens in January next year.

“Let’s have at least 100 women from each province ready to take on space on this huge market. If we unite as women we can make great contributions to economic growth,” she said during an online economic development and outlook symposium organised by the Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) recently.

“The online symposium drew local business women and representation from Rwanda and Malaysia who shared experiences on economic empowerment of women, the challenges women and girls face during this Covid-19 period as well as the opportunities for growth post pandemic.

Minister Nyoni said Zimbabwe could also get a leaf from Rwanda, which has made strides towards women empowerment in business as well as in politics. Rwanda has the world’s highest representation of women in Parliament at 61 percent, while in Malaysia the proportion of women in universities is 3:1 against male students.

In Zimbabwe access to information, education and sanitary care have been problematic for the girl child.

Minister Nyoni acknowledged the challenges women face at stages of development creating scope for more efforts and priority to be channelled towards their empowerment.

“As a ministry, we are working together with partners developing a broad based economic empowerment initiatives for women to take a key role in mining, tourism, manufacturing and trade.

“We want to promote women entrepreneurs, despite Covid-19 induced lockdown, women have soldiered on and others have ventured into PPEs,” she said.

She reiterated the Government’s commitment to create a level playing field and ensure the emancipation of women in Zimbabwe.

She added the ministry was allocated $500 million stimulus package that women entrepreneurs should take advantage of.-herald.cl.zw

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