ZIMBABWE is scaling up interventions to inspire the growth of women-and-youth-led enterprises, thereby bolstering economic recovery, a senior official said this week, noting that more opportunities had opened up since the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
David Musabayana, the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said this during a virtual meeting organised by the Organisation of Women in International Trade in Zimbabwe.
The high level trade forum was part of the International Trade Centre (ITC)’s One Trade Africa programme.
“For women traders and entrepreneurs, including micro-entrepreneurs to benefit from expanded trade under the AfCFTA, the government will scale up existing trade-related technical assistance for women and youth-owned small-to-medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to help them improve their capacity to trade,” Musabayana said.
Allan Majuru, chief executive officer at ZimTrade, which promotes international trade in Zimbabwe said the AfCFTA agreement had opened tremendous trade possibilities for the whole continent.
He said intra-Africa trade opportunities will find solutions to Zimbabwe problems.
“There are vast opportunities in African markets,” Majuru said.
“We have no doubt that with the right support Zimbabwean companies will perform well across all markets on the continent. Our engagement with ITC and other stakeholders will discuss intra-Africa trade opportunities as well as find solutions to challenges faced by Zimbabwean companies,’ he added.
The ITC urged women entrepreneurs in southern Africa to expand their business opportunities through AfCFTA.
Given the current Covid-19 situation, the ITC highlighted the rise of existing gender inequalities affecting women’s access to resources and equitable economic opportunities.
“It is a well-known fact that women’s empowerment creates ripple effects that boost growth and make countries more competitive internationally and also improve other complementary factors, such as health and education. Despite these evident gains, women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses face greater challenges, such as limited financial literacy, access to finance and business networks, and even constraints due to social norms,” said ITC deputy executive director, Dorothy Tembo.
AfCFTA came into force in January 2021.