Zimbabwe to Seize AfCFTA Opportunity for Women Empowerment

Zimbabwe aims to take advantage of the forthcoming Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through prioritising women's economic empowerment in order to achieve economic growth.

AfCFTA is the brainchild of the African Union and was initiated in 2012 with the objective of establishing a single trading bloc which enjoys lowered trade barriers across the continent.

It is set to bring together the continent's 55 nations, creating a total 1 billion customers for Africa's goods and services through a lucrative $3.4 trillion Gross Domestic Product.

Speaking during a webinar co-hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, David Musabayana underscored government's commitment towards driving the women's agenda.

"For women traders and entrepreneurs, including micro-entrepreneurs to benefit from expanded trade under the AfCFTA, the government will scale up existing trade-related technical assistance for women and youth-owned SMEs to help them improve their capacity to trade," he said.

The ITC urged women entrepreneurs in Southern Africa to expand their business opportunities through the AfCFTA.

'It is a well-known fact that women's empowerment creates ripple effects that boost growth and make countries more competitive internationally and also improve other complementary factors, such as health and education.

"Despite these evident gains, women entrepreneurs and women-led business face greater challenges, such as limited financial literacy, access to finance and business networks, and even constraints due to social norms,' said ITC Deputy Executive Director, Dorothy Tembo.

Also participating during the webinar, Zimtrade chief executive, Allan Majuru said the whole continent is set to derive maximum benefits from the agreement.

"There are vast opportunities in African markets. We have no doubt that with the right support, Zimbabwean companies will perform well across all markets in the continent.

"Our engagement with ITC and other stakeholders will discuss intra-Africa trade opportunities as well as find solutions to challenges faced by Zimbabwean companies," he said.

AfCFTA is the brainchild of the African Union and was initiated in 2012 with the objective of establishing a single trading bloc which enjoys lowered trade barriers across the continent.

It is set to bring together the continent's 55 nations, creating a total 1 billion customers for Africa's goods and services through a lucrative $3.4 trillion Gross Domestic Product.

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