ITC launches SheTrades Zambia

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Women entrepreneurs in Zambia to benefit from training and market links to boost business competitiveness.

(Lusaka/Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) today launched the Zambia chapter of the SheTrades initiative in a drive to connect more of the country’s women-owned businesses to international markets. With the establishment of SheTrades Zambia, ITC will work with Zambian women entrepreneurs to improve their competitiveness and strengthen their opportunities to access regional and international markets. Launched in partnership with the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), SheTrades Zambia will also conduct a data-mapping survey on women entrepreneurs to identify their specific needs. ‘Women entrepreneurs in Zambia have tremendous potential to be drivers of growth,’ said ITC Executive Director Arancha González. ‘With SheTrades Zambia we will work in partnership with the government, the business community and with the EIF to better identify what these women need to improve their competitiveness and take their businesses to the global marketplace.’

SheTrades Zambia aims to spur economic growth and job creation for women-owned businesses in Zambia by expanding their role in the local and regional economy as well as in international trade. Working with national and international partners, women entrepreneurs in Zambia will have the opportunity to improve their competency through tailored in-person and online training workshops, and mentoring sessions. SheTrades Zambia will work alongside the country’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to ensure activities are in line with the country’s national development strategies. Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Christopher Yaluma said: ‘We can empower our women entrepreneurs by leveraging multilateral partnerships and linking export ready women entrepreneurs to buyers, partners and investors across the globe.’

Annette Ssemuwemba, EIF Deputy Executive Director, said: ‘The EIF is pleased to be part of this new partnership in Zambia focusing on the economic empowerment of women. Access to local, regional and global markets can have a life-changing effect on women and their families from the resulting reduction in poverty and income increases. We see SheTrades Zambia serving as a catalyst so that women become inspired, informed drivers of trade.’ To further address challenges women entrepreneurs face, Stanbic Bank Zambia will be partnering with SheTrades Zambia to address gender-specific challenges hampering expansion and business growth. The bank will strengthen its offering to women entrepreneurs including by providing easier access to finance, facilitating training workshops on financial literacy, and providing assistance to ensure exposure for women Zambian entrepreneurs at international trade fairs through the bank’s Anakazi Banking programme. Stanbic Bank Chief Executive Officer Leina Gabaraane said that “Stanbic Bank recognises the role that women play in the development of Zambia which is why we remain committed to supporting their economic empowerment through innovative products and customised services like the Anakazi Banking initiative.

Anakazi Banking was created to boost women’s involvement in business and entrepreneurship by providing them with tools they need to succeed in business, including easier access to convenient banking, finance as well as business knowledge. The initiative involves intensive training, mentoring and networking events to build knowledge in management and access to markets, and help women set up businesses. The programme serves women as individual customers targeting students, civil servants and women professionals.” Since joining the Global Banking Alliance for Women – the only global consortium of financial institutions dedicated to supporting banks as they design banking products that capture the opportunity of the women’s market – Stanbic has extended the value of having access to a broad network of organisations worldwide that have the expertise and experience necessary to launch and embed a successful Women’s Market proposition to its female clients.

The bank chief noted that Stanbic was keen on partnering with ITC to launch SheTrades Zambia because the initiative aligned perfectly with the bank’s desire to move women entrepreneurs in Zambia to the next level. “We are excited to be partnering ITC in bringing SheTrades to Zambia because their objectives match our commitment to women empowerment in Zambia. We believe that through concerted efforts, Zambia can eliminate the barriers to business for women and in doing so we would be helping women entrepreneurs move to the next level and reach their full potential in terms of contribution to national development,” Mr Gabaraane said.