4 June 2012

East Africa: Exploit Infrastructure Projects, Women Advised

Arusha — East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has revealed that there are investment opportunities that are still unexploited in the regional infrastructure projects that are estimated to be worth over $40m.

"I therefore appeal to women entrepreneurs in the region to scale up their businesses so that they can also submit in bids for big regional tenders that have always been left to projects largely owned by men," he advised.

He said this at the launch of the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) in Arusha, Tanzania.

The platform is aimed at promoting women's participation in the EAC's trade and integration process.

EAWiBP executive committee member Joanne Mwangi said the platform was initiated in 2011 by the East African Business Council (EABC) with a view of putting in place mechanisms to address challenges faced by businesses owned by women within the region.

She explained that the platform will be guided by the vision of becoming a women's centre of excellence for intra and extra-EAC trade. drawing its mandate from the Treaty for the Establishment of East African Community, particularly Article 121 and 122, ' The Treaty requires partner states to promote the role of women in socio- economic development and in business.

EAC Principal Gender and Community Development Officer Perpetue Miganda reiterated that Treaty Establishing the East African Community under Articles 5, 121 and 122 provides for gender mainstreaming and enhancing the role of women in socio-economic development and women in business.

"In the specific area of women and cross border trade, there are major issues to be addressed such as high illiteracy levels among border communities, lack of market information and lack of storage.

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