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Kenya: Women-Owned Businesses Get Capacity BoostWednesday, October 21, 2015 > 10:24:34
(All Africa By Martin Mwita)
Enterprises run by women and operating across the five-nation East African Community stands to benefit from a $4.5 million (Sh463.9 million) fund to enhance their capacity.
This follows last week's launch of a project dubbed "Women and Trade" by TradeMark East Africa targeting about 25,000 women traders in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan.
The project is funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
TMEA said it plans to partner with local organisations in educating female traders on trade and export procedures in the EAC bloc.
The firm said its targets include a 10 per cent average growth in revenues of the successful businesses by end of next year.
TMEA also hopes to increase by 30 per cent the use of formal trade systems, adoption of policies, regulations and practices that support an enabling environment for women in cross border traders.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi, Foreign Affairs and International Trade CS Amina Mohamed said the project will help support women in the dorminant Small and Medium-sized Enterprises sector.
"Empowering women creates a positive multiplier effect on poverty reduction, economic growth, government revenues and employment creation, among other factors," Mohamed said.
She said the government is keen to see the successful integration of the region and "an overall functional Free-Trade area for the continent".
TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert said the one-year programme will help address trade barriers faced by the women, including harassment from middlemen and double taxation at border points.
"Women have been marginalised either overtly through violence or subtly by exclusion. Government and private sector need to jointly show their recognition of women's labour, by providing a fair and productive environment for them to trade," Matsaert said.
The programme will also engage border customs officials at 12 EAC border posts in policy dialogue and capacity development initiatives.
The second phase (five year programme) is set for 2017, with a $ 15million(Sh1.55 billion) budget.