ARUSHA, Tanzania, Jul 28 – The East African Community will hold a regional Conference on Women in Socio-economic Development and Women in Business from August 5 and 6 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Conference themed Unlocking Business Opportunities for Women within an EAC Common Market will bring together women entrepreneurs from the East African region and delegates from Partner States’ Ministries of EAC, Trade, Finance and Gender and Development. Also expected are representatives of the East African Business Council and Members of the East African Legislative Assembly.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors Jean Claude Nsengiyumva says the role of women in boosting social and economic development of the Community needs to be enhanced through entrepreneurship and trade across the region.
“Women constitute over 60 percent of the EAC population, hence the need to have them fully participate in the regional integration process and be informed of all steps being undertaken by the Community through policies, programmes and projects aimed at enhancing their wellbeing,” sais Mr Nsengiyumva.
The two-day forum is expected to lay the foundation for a regional microfinance scheme for women while conference participants are also expected to make robust proposals in forging an EAC Women Entrepreneurs Association, which will champion the interests of women in business in the region.
The East African Community Customs Union and Common Market integration phases have opened up borders and unlocked opportunities for East Africans to freely move across the borders as persons or workers, establish themselves as self-employed persons and trade in the service sectors in the region.
The Conference on Women in Socio-Economic Development and Women in Business will be an opportunity for women to come together and share experiences and best practices from exemplary legal and socio-political systems that have gained acclaim for championing, enforcing and attaining the rights of and for women.
Considering that women constitute the major segment of the annual exhibition Jua Kali/ Nguvu Kazi organised by East African Community in collaboration with the East African Confederation of Informal Sector Association, the main aim of the Community therefore is to empower East African women and help them move beyond the informal trade regime and become key actors in cross border trade.