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Trade Groups Partner To Raise Women Entrepreneurs In Egypt

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, in conjunction with the International Trade Center (ITC) has launched a new initiative aimed at boosting the export capacity of women entrepreneurs in Egypt.

Dubbed, “Women in Global Trade: SheTrades”, the initiative which is implemented by the ITC within the framework of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS) programme, will help women access new markets and improve competitiveness through digital technologies to grow their businesses.

The new chapter launched in Egypt will build on the experiences and network of the ITC’s SheTrades Programme, which aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs to markets by the end of 2021 in the areas of export capacity building, export readiness and market access.

The SheTrades initiative will also focus on increasing the participation of 50 small and medium enterprises owned by Egyptian women in the export-oriented value chain. Moreover,  the project will enhance the capabilities of women-led small businesses through trainings in production, packaging, logistics, trade information, quality management, marketing, and sales for a specific sector.

In addition, the selected medium, small and micro enterprises will also benefit from the best export practices and directly communicate with export markets and buyers.

The  initiative is equally aligned with Egypt’s national vision to implement the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and directly supports achieving three of the 17 SDGs which include, Goal 5 (Gender Equality aims ‘to empower all women and girls), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth aims to ‘promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’), and  Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure aims to ‘build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’).

Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Hala El Said, noted that to help women contribute to the well-being of their families and the overall society, the SheTrades Egypt project was specifically designed to achieve the strategic goal of empowering women economically by focusing on supporting entrepreneurs in the handicraft sector.

This sector, according to him, is an extremely important target, as one out of every five Egyptian companies in the handicraft sector is owned by a woman.

“Egypt’s total cooperation portfolio with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation amounts to US$12.5 billion, underscoring the value of this partnership.

“ITFC backs a number of distinguished projects and programs, particularly the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States, that support trade facilitation, youth employment, capacity support, addressing non-tariff measures, and skills development for Egyptian exporters”, he said.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ITFC, Engr. Hani Salem Sonbol observed that trade plays a substantial role in expanding women’s role in the economy, decreasing inequality and the associated costs on the global economy, adding that the SheTrades initiative will help Egyptian women entrepreneurs reap the benefits of trade.

“According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, US$28 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. Placing women at the heart of ITFC’s priorities through the SheTrades initiative, works beyond than just connecting women entrepreneurs to markets, but more importantly to identify rising global trends and exploit new technologies and environments, such as the digital economy and virtual learning, to open up important economic opportunities for women”, he further explained.

ITFC was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world.

Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided US$55 billion of financing to OIC member countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for these member countries’ needs.

Driven by its mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC member countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.


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