Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and NACCIMA have called for practical steps to be taken to deepen the involvement of Women in ECOWAS integration.
This call was made at a Workshop; which opened Wednesday 19thDecember 2018 at the NACCIMA House in Ikeja. The two-day workshop with the theme of “Deepening Business Women Involvement in ECOWAS Integration” is organized by the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with FEWACCI and NACCIMA.
Iyalode Alaba Lawson, the President of NACCIMA and the Vice President of FEWACCI indicated that the workshop offers another opportunity to identify and promote business opportunities for women entrepreneurs within the ECOWAS region.
She also identified Trade integration and cooperation among member states is an avenue for meeting the collective developmental needs of Member States. She therefore stressed that deepening ECOWAS integration is key to accelerating economic growth within the region.
She reaffirmed the support of NACCIMA for initiatives and programmes that will strengthen and expand women’s participation in economic activities in the ECOWAS Region taking due note of programmes such as the Free movement of Persons and Trade Liberalization schemes.
Iyalode Lawson, also called on participants at the workshop to come up with practical programmes and projects; which can help improve capacity and the ability of women to network and grow their businesses within the region.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne represented by Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director Gender assured the participants of ECOWAS Commission’s commitment to ensure implementation of the many Gender mainstreamed Action Plans that will build capacity and improve involvement of Women in the field of Trade and in other sectors of integration.
She said ECOWAS was funding this workshop under the ECOWAS Civil Society Engagement Programme, to provide the enabling environment and bring women together to network, exchange experiences and Business to Business engagement to promote joint businesses.
She reiterated that women are key to increasing Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Integration, and that ECOWAS will support more concrete actions in 2019 and beyond in line with the ECOWAS Vision of ECOWAS of the people.
The workshop brings together women entrepreneurs from ECOWAS Countries, including Ghana, Togo, The Gambia, Cote d’ivoire, Niger, Benin and Nigeria. Over a period of two days the participants will discuss the Trajectory of Regional and Trade Integration in ECOWAS, E-Commerce in the region, Intra-ECOWAS Export/Trade, Cross–Border Joint Enterprises and access to credit.
At the end, the Workshop is expected to come up with a Declaration and Action Plan that will help to identify opportunities that can be explored by women including young female Entrepreneurs and also to identify the various institutions in the region that can help them finance and grow their businesses in all economic sectors in the ECOWAS region.