By Henry Uche, Lagos
The Organisation of Women in Trade (OWIT), a trade and investment support oorganistion that works on improving the knowledge and skill base of women on trade laws, policies, rules and procedures, is scheduled to hold an impact-packed four-day conference in Abuja.
In a statement signed by the president of OWIT-Nigeria, Mrs Blessing Irabor-Oza, this year’s Africa Women Trade Conference(second in series) on the heels of a successful hosting of its first outing in Nairobi, Kenya, will be hosted by OWIT Nigeria in collaboration with OWIT Zimbabwe, OWIT Nairobi, and OWIT South Africa.
According to her, the conference will aim at providing better representation through integration for African women-owned businesses in regional and global value chains. It will help establish a better understanding of the links between gender and trade actions on the African continent and create a platform for African women in trade to navigate potential opportunities to trade in the Nigerian Market, build active partnerships and leverage existing networks.
Irabor-Oza confirmed that the conference, being sponsored by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ-ECOWAS), International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa Women & Youth Empowerment Group (AWYEG) was scheduled to span four days and will be launched with a pre-conference summit on policy dialogue for Women to trade under AfCFTA by Africa Women & Youth Empowerment Group (AWEYEG).
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The main conference will hold on the 28th and 29th of September with the theme “Positioning African Women For The Next Big Opportunity In The Regional And Global Marketplace”.
She affirmed that discussions at the conference are expected to move the needle beyond talks of gender and trade to an actual analysis of benefits and participants of regional and international trade as well as examining how to move up the volume of trade participation.
“A post-conference summit, which is slated to hold on the 30th will be a consultative engagement on AfCFTA by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The summit will bring the conference to an end with a glamorous award night, where an award of excellence for exemplary service will be presented for outstanding services.
“The conference will be a convergence of not less than 200 participants coming from 150 travel-eligible regions of Africa and beyond. Amongst them will be Women entrepreneurs, academics, private sector operators, civil society organisations, trade unions, financial institutions, regional and international trade organisations, international development partners, government entities and border agencies.
“This conference, as organised by OWIT Nigeria, provides an opportunity for participants to analyse the channels of interaction between trade and gender, as well as discuss the direction of focus for donors and institutions on women empowerment through trade,” she maintained.