If recommendations raised at the conference are effected, women entrepreneurs in Africa stand a great chance of excelling in the international trade market.
Women need to get out of the kitchen, get an education and grasp the numerous opportunities present for them in the global business market.
This was the key message at the recent MITREEKI 2016 regional conference which brought together policy makers from all over the globe to discuss good policies, best practices and partnerships to mentor, support and collaborate with each other.
Women have always been disadvantaged in accessing opportunities due to myriad challenges facing them. This situation is worse for women entrepreneurs compared to those in employment.
While speaking at the conference, Mercy Waithanji from the Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO) noted that the financial buoyancy of women is often determined by their education level.
She added that women face numerous setbacks including socio- cultural barriers, discrimination in payment and lack of gender parity in access to education and resources.
“We need to create an enabling environment in order to overcome the socio-cultural barriers which pull women back, particularly women at the grassroots level,” she said, “women spend a significant amount of time in unpaid care and domestic work thus they miss out on the opportunities.”
Dr. Gouri Krishna, CEO of BASIX Consulting and Technology Services in India shared evidence on global evidence on policies which have impacted development outcomes in India.
These include peer learning, delivery of banking services to low-income groups, tax revision, creating market linkages for business-people and gender mainstreaming.
Among the recommendations made is to provide justice for women through affordable and accessible legal services. There is also need for labour-saving technologies to speed up production processes.
Africa governments can also create enabling legislation and policies, as well as promote gender parity. This can be achieved by advocating for more resources, support, political will and visibility to actualize the solutions for women.
The conference was organized by IPE Global in association with the Kenya Association of Women Business Owners (KAWBO) supported under Government of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID’s) Knowledge Partnership Programme.
MITREEKI is a combination of the words Maitreyi (meaning friendship in Hindi) and Urafiki (meaning friendship in Swahili), and it symbolizes Indo-Africa friendship beyond boundaries.