Archive for July 2012

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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Women Business Associations in the Balkans Meet on Entrepreneurship, Advocacy and Coalition Building

The Regional Center for Organization Management has recently organized a series of events dedicated to women entrepreneurship, advocacy and coalition building. The events took place in Bucharest, Romania on June 12-15, 2012 and they brought together over fifty women entrepreneurs and women association managers from six countries in the Balkan region (Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey).

The series of events is part of a project titled “Balkan Women Coalition for Professional Qualification and Training in the Field of Business and Economic Science” (2012-2014), funded by the European Commission through the Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme. The aim of the project is to establish and strengthen a coalition of Balkan women’s business associations, as well as to improve women’s entrepreneurial and professional skills. This project builds on a previous initiative aiming for the creation of an informal coalition of Balkan women business associations which CIPE supported in 2005-2007. Continue reading ‘Women Business Associations in the Balkans Meet on Entrepreneurship, Advocacy and Coalition Building’ »