Friday, 16 March 2018

EXPORT COUNCIL TO TAKE 200,000 NIGERIAN WOMEN TO THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET IN WASHINGTON

Olusegun Awolowo, CEO, NEPC
Determined to make women dominate the nation’s economy through trade and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has trained 120 women on export procedures and solution.

The Executive Director of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, in a key note address presented at the event in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the training was aimed at improving on the understanding of women entrepreneurs and business support organizations on the Shetrades initiative. He said Nigeria is expected to take at least 200,000 women to the international market, in line with the initiative.

Represented by NEPC Deputy Director, Head Trade Information Department, Princess Estelle Igwe, Awolowo noted that the business of most women ends at the informal level, stating that businesses does not make much impact at the informal stage. He said, when business becomes formal, it goes global and thereby, adds to the nation’s GDP which will in turn bring about robust economy, which the Council tends to achieve.

Awolowo said, a recent ITC survey shows that women entrepreneurs own and manage only one in five exporting firms. He listed the obstacles preventing women from participating in international trade value chain to include cultural and regulatory barriers, limited access to productive resources, information networks, credit facilities and skill mismatch saying that ‘Empowering Women to Trade Program’ seeks to address the unacceptable situation.

He said: “In seeking to mobilize partners around the world to collaborate towards achieving the economic empowerment of women through trade, ITC launched the SheTrades initiatives in September 2015.

“The call to action was developed through an extensive consultation process. In July 2016, the International Trade Centre launched the Nigeria Chapter of the SheTrades initiatives in Abuja as part of ambitious global agenda to take at one million women from developing economy and economy in transition to the market by the year 2020”

“Of this target figure, Nigeria is expected to take at least 200,000 women to the international market.”

He said that that NEPC has created “ Women in Export Desk” at the council’s head office and all the regional and smart offices where issues relating to gender activities in trade are being handled.

Also speaking, the Council’s Coordinator in the South-South regional office, Mrs. Azuka Ikejiofor, expressed hope that the training will give women entrepreneurs maximum exposure in the International market arena.

She said, “This is not time for men to continue to dominate the economy , NEPC is determined to fish out female entrepreneurs, pull them together and give them the necessary trainings and support to break records in international trade”

Also the NEPC has unveiled a new window of opportunity through its SheTrades initiative to empower women entrepreneurs in Kano. The new initiative was part of NEPC’s national action plan on Zero Oil Growth through women inclusiveness for global export trade.

Unveiling the new platform for the Northwest regional stakeholder’s workshop for women entrepreneurs in Kano during the weekend, Executive Director of the council Olusegun Awolowo explained that the SheTrades initiative was targeted at increasing women participation in non-oil export activities, economic diversification and growth.

Awolowo recalled that the council was partnering with International Trade Center (ITC) global agenda plan for one million women entrepreneurs that will be selected from developing economy for empowerment in 2020.

According to the NEPC boss, Nigeria will select about 200,000 women to attend the international market in Washington.

The ED who was represented by head of Women in Export Desk, Mrs Onu Latica, said the launch of SheTrades for women entrepreneurs in Kano would further expose the nitty-gritty required for exporting local made products and bridge needless barriers against women in international trades.

He said: “The stakeholders meeting organized by the women in export desk in NEPC to drive the Shetrades initiative to educate and enhance capacity of women on how to make their trade international standard. Our Target include women clusters on some product sectors such as Hibiscus, Sesame seed, Cotton and Maringa.  

“We are also working to achieve zero oil growth through women Inclusiveness in Global Export Trade Forum, targeted at non-oil export stakeholders which include Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Conglomerates, exporters, banks, shipping lines and host of other. (Guardian)

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