Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category.

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Peru – CIPE partner the Institute for Liberty and Democracy held a workshop in Cusco aimed at promoting business participation among indigenous women and building the capacity of indigenous women’s associations. The workshop provided over 40 participants with the legal and economic tools to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, know their rights, and advocate for removing challenges that affect the local business environment. CIPE consultant Marina Stadthagen presented at the workshop on association governance and the importance of business associations in democratic societies.

Nigeria – CIPE hosted a three-day capacity-building workshop for 24 women representing 15 Nigerian business and professional women’s associations at CIPE’s field office in Lagos. The workshop on association management covered topics including best practices for functional boards and management; strategic planning; membership recruitment and retention; and service provision. CIPE Nigeria Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi, CIPE Field Representative Camelia Bulat, and CIPE Program Officer Yana Hongla facilitated the workshop. CIPE is working to enhance the capacity of business and professional women’s organizations to effectively advocate for their members’ interests.

Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) hired two consultants to provide assistance to the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ). The first consultant met with two WABAZ members to provide technical assistance on association management and membership development, while the second consultant met with five WABAZ members in Harare and Bulawayo to solicit input on the development of a strategic plan to guide the informal coalition over the next five years. This is part of a CIPE program with ZNCC to empower women’s business associations to advocate for policy and regulatory reforms on issues affecting women entrepreneurs.

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Economically Empowering Women in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development recently published a document that seeks to expand the level of women’s participation in the mainstream economy.  The Broad Based Women Economic Empowerment (BBWEE) framework acts as an implementation plan to ensure women control an equal share of the economy and benefit from all possible economic opportunities.

By communicating the vision, goal and underlying principles of BBWEE, the framework can be applied generally to the private sector, NGOs, and government organizations.  The document defines operational objectives, main pillars, and intervention areas that are imperative to economically empowering women.  Key actions as well as a time frame for each are outlined in the framework and an indicative budget is laid out for partners.  In addition to laying out the individual steps, the framework identifies key indicators for monitoring progress and impact.

In support of the BBWEE, the Women Alliance of Business Associations of Zimbabwe (WABAZ) has agreed to participate in the government’s plan.  The government’s willingness to cooperate with civil society in implementing and monitoring the BBWEE framework is a good step to ensuring that the new plan effectively increases women’s participatory possibilities.

Advocating for Women Traders in Nigeria

Recognizing the importance of women in the key issues that Nigeria and ECOWAS are committed to addressing, Life Impact Foundation International (LIFI) has recently prepared a position paper on the Women and Cross-Border Trade Project in Nigeria. LIFI argues that women cross-border traders are driving forces in alleviating poverty, ensuring food security, and generating employment.

Important though they are, most of these women remain in the informal sector where they are not recognized and do not benefit from policies meant to facilitate trade in the region.  Although ECOWAS has implemented a set of protocols to reflect the decisions of heads of state, enforcement of these policies has been found wanting.  Because of this, significant challenges faced by women-cross border traders remain including lack of information regarding trade protocols, transport constraints, lack of access to finance and networks, and extortion of all kinds.

To address the problem, LIFI has developed several recommendations for action that will help shift the way all actors of the cross-border trade community view these women:

  1. Officially recognize the significance and needs of women as contributors to national and regional trade and development in trade policy and export promotion
  2. Develop cross border trade facilitation programming targeted at women traders
  3. Empower women traders through greater access to horizontal and vertical business linkages, information, skills and resources
  4. Build capacity among border officials toward gender sensitive professional practice, standards and accountability
  5. Initiate multi-sectoral approaches that will support the facilitation of women’s cross-border trade

As the position paper states, “moves towards regional economic integration for the purposes of economic and human development cannot ignore the role of women cross-border traders.” Only when informal women traders enjoy the same access to markets, opportunities, and ability to operate in the formal sector, will the region truly realize trade openness and substantial regional economic growth.

Read the full Position paper here.

Thanks to Eniola Dada for sharing this paper.

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CIPE Entrepreneurship Update

Zimbabwe - CIPE’s partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe is hosting a series of breakfast meetings called ‘Breaking Financial Barriers to Success’ for women entrepreneurs as part of ongoing efforts to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. Twenty two participants attended the meeting and interacted with a series of presenters, which included the Director of Women Affairs and Gender and Community Development, Research Manager for FBC Bank and the Business Development Manager for Micro King Finance. The Meeting was attended by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZTV) which aired footage during the nightly news. CIPE is supporting WABAZ to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe through technical assistance, advocacy, and research on issues affecting women in business.

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New Women’s Coalition in Zimbabwe

The Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABAZ), a newly formed women’s coalition hosted a public launch of the organization. As part of the launch, Dr. Charity Manyeruke author of a CIPE-commissioned study on women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe presented the report, which examines the enabling environment and potential for women’s empowerment in the country. The Minister of Industry and Commerce, the Minister and Permanent Secretary of Regional Integration and Economic Cooperation, as well as members of Parliament, and the Permanent Secretaries from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Economic Development and the Ministry of SMEs were in attendance. The President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce – organizers and supporters of WABAZ – gave remarks, as did the Chairwoman of WABAZ. The Ministers gave brief presentations and pledge their maximum support for the coalition. The event, which was also attended by top women business executives in the country, was covered by both the print and electronic media. CIPE is supporting the growth of WABAZ through ZNCC to strengthen the voice of business associations in the country to represent the interests of the private sector in dialogue with the government.

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Women in Business and Management of Nigeria Seek KnowHow

KnowHow, CIPE’s new online resource, matches the professional skills of corporate or individual volunteers with business associations seeking technical assistance. The online resource targets associations, rather than single entrepreneurs or business professionals, because helping an association multiplies the effect of a single intervention across an entire membership. While KnowHow is open to all associations, the first group of participants are women’s associations, like the Women in Business and Management (WIMBIZ) in Nigeria. Continue reading ‘Women in Business and Management of Nigeria Seek KnowHow’ »

International Women’s Day in Liberia

Women in Liberia were opportune to have Her Excellency Madam Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women to come to Liberia to celebrate with us The 100 anniversary of International Women’s Day; and the first anniversary of UN Women Day. She was the guest of our President, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president of Liberia and in Africa. Women from 75 women organizations paraded in the streets of Monrovia and had an indoor program. During the program, Madam Bachelet spoke on the Theme: Access to Education, Training, Science and Technology: “Pathway to Decent Work for Women”. That evening, a dinner was hosted by the Minister of Gender and Development in honor of Madam Bachelet and Our President, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Presidents of various women organizations were invited to attend the dinner. We had such a wonderful time with our guest.

I hope you all had a wonderful celebration like we did in Liberia.

Theodosia Clark-Wah
Liberian Women In Democracy

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From Humble Beginnings, Tanzanian Businesswoman Inspires While Giving Back to the Community

A recent article in The Citizen, a Tanzania based newspaper, recognizes local businesswoman and chairperson of the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce for her entrepreneurial successes not only in the business world, but in the local community as well. Dina Bina, owner of Dina Flowers, is somewhat of a celebrity in the entrepreneurship network of Tanzania, but this has not always been the case. As the article points out, before winning a contract to revamp the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in 1997 Dina was starting her own business in a seemingly obscure industry at the time. With the help of her family Dina was able to transform five bunches of flowers given to her by her sister-in-law into a thriving flower shop and interior design business. Continue reading ‘From Humble Beginnings, Tanzanian Businesswoman Inspires While Giving Back to the Community’ »

Connect to Empower — Maghrebi Women in the Private Sector

Maghrebi women have come a long way in terms of pushing for political, social and economic reform, integrating their participation in decision-making, creating enterprises, and making investments. However, they still have a long way to go in terms of maximizing their contributions to the private sector and using entrepreneurship as a means to overcome cultural and social barriers among women.

Entrepreneurial women in the Maghreb still represent a small proportion of the total population, and are divided over cultural, socioeconomic, and even linguistic lines. Whether it is an illiterate woman running a small home-based sewing business or a female fashion designer who graduated from France’s L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National Advanced School of Fine Arts), Maghrebi women are united despite such divisions by the goal to contribute to their own households and their country, and to use business opportunities to improve their own situation and build a better future for the region…

Read the full article about women in the Maghreb and their role in the private sector.

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CIPE 2010 International Youth Essay Contest

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) invites young people to share their ideas on how to create opportunities for youth to strengthen democracy and the private sector in their countries. Students and young professionals aged 18-30 are welcome to participate by writing an essay on one of the three topics: Democracy that delivers, Entrepreneurship and society, or Women and participation. Winning articles will be published by CIPE and receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Please visit the 2010 International Youth Essay Contest website at for further information and details about the contest.

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